Nov. 22, 2021

DEATH BY ELECTROCUTION.

IN THE LATE SIXTIES, WHEN I HOSTED A MORNING SHOW FOR ARKANSAS'S ABC AFFILIATE, THE STATION'S MANAGER INVITED ME TO ATTEND THE ELECTROCUTION OF A YOUNG MAN FROM GEORGIA WHO HAD MURDERED HIS STEP FATHER.

BECAUSE THE ELECTRIC CHAIR IN GEORGIA WAS BEING "OVERHAULED"--GEORGIA'S GOVERNOR ARRANGED TO HAVE THE PRISONER'S ELECTROCUTION "CARRIED OUT" IN ARKANSAS.

AT THE TIME OF THE ELECTROCUTION, I WAS THE ONLY FEMALE SITTING WITH EIGHT MEN IN THE TINY GLASS-WINDOWED “VIEWING” ROOM. NO ONE SPOKE A WORD AS A VERY THIN MAN IN BLUE JEANS AND A WHITE T-SHIRT WAS STRAPPED TO A PLAIN-WOODEN, HOMEMADE CHAIR COVERED WITH LEATHER STRAPS AND THICK CORDS.

THE YOUNG MAN NEVER LOOKED UP--NOT ONE TIME—BUT--WHEN THE WARDEN NODDED AND THE LOUD GENERATOR STARTED-UP,  THE MAN'S BODY CONVULSED VIOLENTLY FOR NEARLY THREE MINUTES. WHEN THE GENERATOR SUDDENLY STOPPED AND THE ELECTROCUTION WAS OFFICIALLY-OVER--THERE WAS NO DOUBT THE YOUNG MAN WAS DEAD. HE WAS BLEEDING PROFUSELY FROM EVERY ORIFICE AND... HIS BODY...FLAME-RED IN COLOR... LOOKED LIKE A BOILED LOBSTER.

I WOULD NEVER AGREE TO WITNESS SUCH A BRUTAL DEATH--EVER AGAIN. YET, I STILL BELIEVE IN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AS THE ONLY WAY TO DESTROY PURE EVIL.

 I ACCIDENTLY-WITNESSED A PERSON DIE BY FIRING SQUAD -- IN CHINA BUT-- I DON'T INTEND TO SHARE THE HORROR OF THAT EXPERIENCE.  SOMETIMES, CHINESE LEADERS DON’T WASTE TIME AND MONEY PROVING A PERSON’S GUILT OR INNOCENCE---WHICH--OFFENDS ME.  I CAN’T BEAR TO THINK OF AN INNOCENT PERSON FACING A FIRING SQUAD, THE ELECTRIC CHAIR---OR---DELIBERATE DEATH OF ANY KIND.  NO, I'M NOT OBSESSED WITH DEATH.  I’VE HAD TO ACCEPT DYING----AS A PART OF LIVING.

PLEASE STAY CLOSE-- IN LIFE-- AS WELL AS DEATH.

SALLY