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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Put people before pizza!

From the Guardian, a perfect illustration of the importance of ‘anti-junk-food’ campaigning as the newfound cause du jour of the British left. It is hard to tell which aspect of his own report the author finds more disturbing: capital punishment or the lack of healthy food options for the condemned:

Raymond Rowsey got his deadly dose on January 9, in North Carolina. The sole white among these executed men, Rowsey was convicted for the killing of a convenience store clerk – or perhaps his accomplice half-brother did it, no one seemed quite sure at the trial. Their takings? Two pornographic magazines and $54. Rowsey had a history of horrific childhood abuse. His last meal was pizza, chicken wings, two packets of peanut M&Ms, and a Pepsi.

Junk food and judicial killing. Feel queasy?

But would not the offer of a balanced, healthy last meal be a bit…well, redundant?

27 comments to Put people before pizza!

  • Susan

    John Sutherland is one of the most inaccurate “reporters” the Guardian has. And that’s saying a lot considering what you have to choose from. Just an aside. Meanwhile:

    The whole point of “the condemned shall eat a hearty meal” thing is that a person about to be executed should have the right to eat whatever the fuck they want. Who the fuck would pick granola and tofu as their last meal? Of COURSE they are going to go for the chocolate milkshakes and pecan pie.

    But whoever said that socialists are capable of thining logically?

  • Rick C

    Did that article have a point? I mean, come *on*:

    He kidnapped, raped, and strangled a white female – which would probably qualify him for three lethal injections in that cruel state.

    Never mind the silly hyperbole, what is the author of this piece suggesting, that this guy should’ve gotten a slap on the wrist? Rapists should be removed from the gene pool, preferably violently. Nobody’d complain about the killing of a rabid dog that savaged someone.

  • S. Weasel

    We no longer give them a last cigarette and a whisky either, if I recall correctly. Now, that is just plain barbaric.

  • R. C. Dean

    S. – maybe if you offer to eat the cigarette . . .

    Which raises a question – is death row non-smoking? If so, what on earth for?

  • Jacob

    Speaking of murderers, here is a story that was all over the headlines today in Israel.

    Ygal Amir, the murderer of PM Rabin (in 1995) is serving a life sentence, without parole. Now he has met the woman of his dreams and wants to get married, in prison.
    Amir’s bride-to-be, Larisa Trimbobler, is an ultra- Orthodox new immigrant from the former
    Soviet Union, a doctor of philosophy and the
    mother of four children.

    The bon-pensant lefties, those which loved Rabin dearly but also love to pass prisoner’s rights laws are shocked. So shocked in fact, that Daliah Rabin, the late PM’s daughter had a heart condition when she heard the news and had to receive emergency care. (I.e. – he almost murdered her too, by remote).
    The fact is that the liberal prisoner treatement laws in Israel allow prisoners to marry, and force the prison authorities to permit regular visits by spouses. There seems to be no legal way to prevent this marriage.
    A special law was made for Ygal Amir (i.e. for murderers of prime ministers) a couple of years ago to deny him parole in perpetuity. Now it seems the Kneset and the courts will have a tough job seeking a way out of the new dilema.
    Ygal Amir is sitting already 8 years in solitary confinement, a very rare instance of such treatement.
    Now, isn’t it much simpler and humane for all involved to use that lethal injection ?

  • Hmmm… Often it is fatal to live too long.

    But would not the offer of a balanced, healthy last meal be a bit…well, redundant?

    Most certainly. This brings us to that well-known yet still amusing paradox:

    Why do they sterilize the needle for the lethal injection?

    (Beating himself for his lack of compassion for the poor oppressed rapists and murderers. Society is to blame.)

  • Bombadil

    On the same day, Kenneth Bruce was executed in Texas. He and three of his cousins were held responsible for the death of an elderly couple, during a botched raid on their home. Bruce’s counsel absent-mindedly omitted to introduce mitigating evidence for his 19-year-old client. He had been abused as a child. His mother was just 14 when she gave birth to him and was madly alcoholic during his childhood. A visitor once saw the 12-year-old Bruce eating dog food. No pooch chow for his last meal. He selected a double meat cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and mayo, french fries, orange juice and pecan pie. Lip-lickin’ good, as they say in the Lone Star state.

    Gotta love that Guardian logic.

    1) Bruce and his three cousins were held responsible – which is to imply that they weren’t responsible at all?

    2) None of the “mitigating circumstances” seem to mitigate at all … however much one might feel sympathy for a miserable childhood, the crime of breaking into someone’s home and murdering them deserves death. What if the elderly couple that had been murdered also had a miserable childhood? Perhaps they had been abandoned as children, during the Great Depression, worked hard their whole lives, only to end up being murdered by a gang of thugs.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    “…,no one seemed quite sure at the trial.”

    Surely this reporter knows that in the U.S. it doesn’t make any difference in capital murder who pulls the trigger among accomplices. They are all eligible for the maximum penalty allowed under the law.

    What’s the reporter’s point?

  • Susan

    TP: The point is that the “reporter” is an idiot, that’s the point. I wouldn’t place any bets on the fact that he is familiar with US law; I’m familiar with his by-line and he is extremely ignorant about US law and politics. .

    He once wrote an article claiming that Richard Nixon was elected by the Moral Majority (which was founded five years after Tricky Dicky was hounded from office), for example.

  • Shawn

    “What’s the reporter’s point?”

    To reveal the evil of the Great Satan. To reveal the subhuman nature of Southern people. To encourage hatred of the Untited States. The same point as every other article concerning the U.S. that has ever been written in the British left wing press.

  • RonG

    The word is ‘moot’, not ‘redundant’.
    So I’m a bit pedantic. Sue me.

  • Andrew X

    “Junk food and judicial killing. Feel queasy?”

    Ummmm, no, not really. I’m kinda hungry actually. Lessee, Pizza sounds good, and those chicken wings. I’ll save the M & M’s for later. I drink milk when I eat, so I think I’ll have that instead of Pepsi.

    So, other than being hungry, I feel great.

    But thanks for your concern, Mr Sutherland. I’ll be just fine, though.

  • Steve

    Hailing from Texas, I’ve never heard “lip-lickin’ good.” “Lip-smacking good” maybe, but I don’t think that is a Texas-specific turn of phrase. Maybe the author should concentrate on the descriptions of why these people are being executed. The author seems to indicate that it seems a horrible miscarriage of justice to execute someone for killing someone for a take of two porn mags and $54. Those are precisely the conditions that should get you executed.

  • Lewis

    There certainly should be a death penalty if you steal “The Guardian” . . . or even if you buy it . . . No! Especially if you buy it!!!!

  • Guy Herbert

    TP: “Surely this reporter knows that in the U.S. it doesn’t make any difference in [capital] murder who pulls the trigger among accomplices.”

    As far as I know it doesn’t in English common law either. [We don’t have a distinction between capital murder and other murder, though: murder is murder.] Those engaged in a common enterprise should have equal accessorial liability.

    Sutherland, as usual, is engaged in a fantasy of the evil injustice of the American system. Hence the telling details of what was stolen: to him it is more acceptable to kill someone in the commision of a petty crime for sordid necessaries than a piece of capitalism-by-force such as a bank robbery.

    I’ve no doubt the quality of US justice is wildly variable (as is British–witness the SIDS cases), but Sutherland’s suggestion is not that the trial may have been poor, but that the perpetrator suffered only because he was poor.

  • Front4uk

    Right on Comrade Sutherland, show those barbaric US capitalist pigs where they can take their so called justice for victims and capital punishment.

    I personally prefer the Soviet way of punishment for rapists and murderers…. 25-year stint in the Siberian Gulag, followed by injection 7.62mm Tokarev slug to back of your head.

    And for your last meal, some black bread and cabbage will suffice.

    Mmm… makes me feel quasy too!

  • Dave F

    I’ve never understood why prisoners have a last meal anyway. It’s not as if you’re going to wake up hungry the next day. How much would you enjoy a meal of which every mouthful reminded you this was the last supper?

  • Andrew

    I’d order all-you-can-eat Chinese food. Then never stop eating… Heh heh.


  • Alfred E. Neuman

    I’m glad to see that this Guardianista is highlighting the cruel executions in Saudi Arabia. Oh wait…

  • Laura

    Pizza, chicken wing, 2 packets of peanut M&Ms, Pepsi
    My diet when I was in college! It included the 4 food groups: fat, salt, sugar, and caffeine, too.

  • Wild Pegasus

    I think my last “meal” would be a bottle of scotch.

    – Josh

  • ed


    1. Yes my last meal would be a bottle of rare scotch as well. As rare and as expensive as I can think of. Why not share the misery? 🙂

    2. Abused as a child.
    This refrain is seriously starting to annoy me. The fact is that there are millions of people who have suffered terrible abuse as children and teenagers. More than simple “abuse” in fact. It goes all the way up to torture and beyond. The thing that really irritates me is that all of those people didn’t suddenly start turning into roobers, murderers, thieves and rapists. Frankly I simply do not see a direct connection between childhood abuse and violent adult criminal activity. It certainly doesn’t *require* childhood abuse to become a violent criminal so how has it become an exculpatory situation?

    Consider refugees who have escaped horrific and traumatic catastrophes in their native country. Perhaps those Cambodians who escaped the “Killing Fields”. Did all of those people turn into criminals? I don’t think so.

    Simply put I don’t believe at all that any sort of childhood abuse excuses any criminal activity whatsoever. That these people advancing these theories aren’t universally laughed out of the courtrooms is a real shame.

  • James

    Moral Majority was indeed founded long after Nixon’s resignation. He did, however, talk about the ‘silent majority’ on one famous occasion, while still in office, and Sutherland has clearly got the two badly mixed up. Which makes him ideal for the Grauniad’s US bureau, doesn’t it?

  • Nemo

    Remind me again – why is it that the state should kill people who kill other people?

  • Acidopholous


    Who’s who when it comes to tough love?