A Florida state representative filed a bill Tuesday that would eliminate lethal injections as a means of execution and bring back firing squads.
State Rep. Brad Drake said the bill is a response to the debate over the effectiveness of certain drugs used in lethal injections, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News. Florida currently offers lethal injections and the electric chair to execute death row inmates.
“So, I say let’s end the debate,” Drake, a Republican, said in a release Tuesday. “We still have Old Sparky. And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45 caliber lead cocktail instead.”
In the bill, the electric chair would replace lethal injections as the standard method of execution, though inmates could opt for the firing squad instead.
Controversy over lethal injections erupted in Florida last month when the state executed Manuel Valle amid a legal battle. Valle's lawyers argued that a new lethal drug cocktail would cause him pain and therefore constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
According to the Florida Current, Drake decided to propose the bill after hearing a constituent in a Waffle House say of the Valle case: "You know, they ought to just put them in the electric chair or line them up in front of a firing squad."
"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," Drake said.
The last inmate executed by firing squad in the U.S. happened in Utah in 2010. The state eliminated the firing squad option in 2004, but the law was not retroactive, meaning inmates sentenced to death prior to the law could still choose the method. Oklahoma is the only state with an active firing squad option.
Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, slammed Drake's proposed legislation and said it be an embarrassment to Florida if adopted.
"Just when you thought that public policy in Florida couldn't get worse, along comes a state rep who develops proposed legislation from what he overhears at the Waffle House," Simon told the Associated Press. "Given all that former members of the Florida Supreme Court and the American Bar Association have said about Florida's broken death penalty system, including the nation's highest number of exonerations, this would be embarrassing -- if our legislature were capable of embarrassment."
But Drake said he's tired of the "sensitivity movement for criminals."
"I think if you ask a hundred people, not even talking to criminals, how would you like to die, if you were drowned, if you were shot, and if you say you were put to sleep, 90% of the people would say I want to be put to sleep," Drake told the wire service. "Let's put our pants back on the right way."
As The Blaze reported earlier today, Keith Olbermann blasted Drake on his Current TV show Wednesday, calling him an "a**hole" during his "Worst Person in the World" segment. The obscenity aired uncensored.
Responding to Drake's "throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge" comment, Olbermann replied, "You first, a**hole!"
MSNBC suspended Time's Mark Halperin after he called President Barack Obama a "dick" on live TV.
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