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Barry Crimmins

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Condemnation, does it go far enough? Saturday, January 1, 2000

by Barry Crimmins
Copyright 1993 all rights reserved

Out of all the important issues our republic was asked to weigh during the 1992 Presidential election perhaps the most significant was this : Which candidate most ardently supported the death penalty?

I know Perot has always been fond of it but since I don't have my H. Ross/ English dictionary available it would be unfair for me to attempt to paraphrase his stance on capital punishment. I just know that he has often expressed affection for it.

The eventual winner of our quadrennial search for a patriarch, Bill Clinton, so favored executions, that he left the campaign trail (and I think we all know how much patriarchs love being out on trails) to return to Arkansas and resume his role as governor of that state. He did this to prevent bleeding heart "old Democrats" from preventing the execution of a brain-damaged prisoner a man named Rickey Ray Rector. Rector suffered severe brain damage in a shootout with police. Bill made sure the proper papers were signed and that this, for all intents and purposes, lobotomized threat to our society, would never again criminally scheme against us. Thanks to Clinton's swift action, Mr. Rector has not been a danger to Arkansans or anyone else in this great land of ours for over a year now. So far this is the single most significant contribution made to our society by a "new Democrat".

This put then - President Bush on the spot. All of his opponents were in favor of the death penalty and there certainly weren't too many other issues that behooved him to mention. What to do?

Well it took awhile but by the final debate Poppy finally outflanked his adversaries on this mortally important issue . He called for (and this is an actual quote) "stronger death penalties." The press didn't pick up on it but I did . I reviewed the video several times, he actually called for "stronger death penalties."

I contacted the Bush people to ask for a position paper on "stronger death penalties" but it was late in the campaign and for whatever reasons they never responded to my request. I'm sure they were too busy strategizing with Lee Greenwood or Bob Hope or Rush Limbaugh to fulfill my request for clarification of this innovative policy.

So all I could do was imagine exactly how such a plan would work. How would you make a death penalty tougher?

Here's my guess: On the condemned's last night - eliminate the traditional choice of a final meal and serve the prisoner a sandwich from the nearest gas station/ mini-mart -- any sandwich in the case will be amply punishing. For a beverage - bottled Milwaukee tap water. Hey what's it going to do, kill him?

Instead of a priest or some other spiritual guru, bring in a really smug insult comic to relentlessly taunt the prisoner about his life and fate Keep a careful watch on the doomed at all times because a suicide at this point would be tragic.

Don't wait until dawn to bring him to the death chamber -- take him in there three or four hours early. Strap the prisoner in an electric chair put a pair of headphones on him and play endless tape loop of our new de facto national anthem "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" by Fleetwood Mac.

Now for the tougher death penalty. The electric chair sits on a trapdoor of a gallows. Just prior to putting on the headphones, place a noose around his neck. All of this, of course, is in a gas chamber and a bulls-eye is painted on the prisoner's heart. Run an I.V. for the lethal injection long enough to take into account the drop from the gallows in the electric chair. Get your finest sharpshooters ready and with the timing and precision of a U.S. air strike on Baghdad throw the switch, open the trapdoor and the valve for the injection, drop the pellets and fire!! If all goes as planned the condemned will be simultaneously shot, hung, electrocuted, gassed and lethally injected. That'll teach him!

Clinton should adopt this policy now and show us what he's made of. America did not become the great nation it is because it molly-coddles the doomed.