The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Execution culture requires last meal

Viewpoint by Joshua Knopp/managing editor

Late last month, Texas decided to put an end to last meals before executions.

Convicted murderer Lawrence Brewer fueled the change, requesting two

chicken-fried steaks; a triple bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with beef, tomatoes, onions and an assortment of peppers; a bowl of fried okra; a pound of barbecue; half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; one pint of ice cream; a pound of peanut-butter fudge; and three root beers for his last meal.

When the food arrived, Brewer said he wasn’t hungry.

Upon hearing the news, state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who must have thought the prison guards were vegetarians, called for the end of the practice because all that money was wasted.

There’s no discerning the real reason for abolishing last meals — there is no real reason for abolishing last meals — but it definitely isn’t money. If the reason were money, the death penalty itself is what should be abolished. According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, it costs $2.3 million to execute a prisoner in Texas. They could be held in a maximum-security cell for roughly 120 years for the same amount of money.

Former inmate Brian Price even offered to cook and pay for each last meal out of his own pocket in light of the news. Price spent 14 years in prison for assault, and 10 of those years he cooked last meals. He published a cookbook Meals to Die For in 2004.

While my head says this is wrong because the state would save more money by abolishing the death penalty, taking Price up on his offer or following Florida’s policy of a $40 limit on last meals, my heart says this is wrong for another reason.

This is going to sound awful, but last meals are a part of the romance of an execution.

Brewer was executed for his role in a horrible, racially driven murder. But part of his legacy will now be a veritable banquet he refused to touch, one of the most personal middle fingers the State of Texas has ever received. If the logical reasons to reinstate last meals aren’t enough, let’s listen to the emotional one.

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