Meet North Carolina state representative Larry Pittman.
He’s a “pastor, shipping worker, company chaplain,” according to the bio on his legislative website. He’s a man of God. He’s a man who believes in protecting life. But he’s also a man who believes in taking life — cruelly, unusually, the old-fashioned way. And he’s a man who has no clue how to use email.
An eye for an eye, eh?
“We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email, according to WRAL. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”
Pittman was driven to write the email after death row inmate Danny Robbie Hembree Jr. sent a letter to The Gaston Gazette “bragging about how easy life is in prison and that appeals would stall his execution for years,” WRAL reported. The problem? He meant to send it only to only to Rep. Tim Moore, but filled with rage and sleepiness, he accidentally blasted it out to the entire assembly.
“I got a bit carried away and overstated my case,” Pittman later said of his accidental reply all email. “I am sure I am not the only one who has ever done that.”
This isn’t the first time this year a state representative has argued for more cruel and unusual death penalty punishment. In October 2011, Rep. Brad Drake, a Republican state legislator from Florida, met with constituents at a local Waffle House and came away with a brilliant plan. Drake, who was “so tired of being humane to inhumane people,” filed HB 325, a bill that would eliminate lethal injections for death row prisoners and instead only allow for execution by firing squad and electrocution.
Why stop there? Let’s bring back drawing-and-quartering and keelhauling.
The last public execution in the United States took place on August 14, 1936. Rainey Bethea, convicted of rape and murder, was hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky. It’s estimated 20,000 people watched.
Then there’s this: France’s last public beheading by guillotine took place in June of 1939 in Versailles. Eugen Weidmann was the last person in France to be executed in public outside of Saint-Pierre Prison. The footage was shot from an apartment window adjacent to the jail-house. At the beginning of the film, now on YouTube!, you can see the crowd gathering in the upper-left corner of the screen.
PREVIOUSLY IN CRUEL & UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT:
• Florida Rep. Drafts Bill to Bring Back Firing Squads Following Suggestion at Waffle House
• It’s on YouTube: Watch France’s Last Public Beheading
• No Doubt: After Troy Davis, We Need a New Death Penalty Standard