Florida Sen. Brad Drake (R-Okaloosa) has filed a bill in Tallahassee to make the state’s killing of criminals more visceral: He’d do away with lethal injection, giving capital convicts the choice of getting electrocuted or being shot. Saying he’s “sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals,” Drake has vowed to bring back the state’s old electric chair, an apparatus in the Central Florida-based Starke prison known as “Old Sparky.” (It was abandoned in 2000 after it had difficulty killing one prisoner with the usual jolt, then set another prisoner’s face on fire.)
Here’s a way to put this story in perspective: Below are three quotes about killing inmates in Florida. One of them isn’t Drake discussing his capital-punishment proposal. Can you guess which one it is? Answer (and source) at the end:
1. “There shouldn’t be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it.”‘
2. “In the words of Humphrey Bogart, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ I am so tired of being humane to inhumane people.”
3. “You know, they ought to just put them in the electric chair or line them up in front of a firing squad.”
ANSWER: Okay, sort of a trick question. Drake didn’t say that last one, but one of his constituents did, in a meeting with Drake at a Waffle House, and that’s how he got his inspiration for the bill. Nos. 1 and 2 were part of Drake’s defense of the bill, as reported by the Florida Current. Of course, Humphrey Bogart did not say “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”; Clark Gable did. But why be such a stickler for facts when life and death are on the line?