“I’m elated that we finally get a choice,” said prisoner # 4653, Otis Campbell.
“Finally, we get a voice in decision-making,” said prisoner # 7369, Elmer Wayne Henley.
Of course these condemned inmates of Virginia’s penal system are talking about the fact that, thanks to progressive-minded state lawmakers who believe in choice, they, and dozens of others who are condemned, now get the choice of the electric chair over lethal injection.
“We believe in choice when it comes to such things,” said State Rep Moe Lester of Poquoson, Virginia. “For far too long our condemned state residents have only been given one option and, quite frankly, we consider such limits to be unfair and not keeping with the tides of change that our state has always embraced.”
Condemned prisoner, Henley, agree: “That’s what makes me proud to be an American….the freedom to choose,” he said. “If I was condemned in Russia for instance I probably wouldn’t be given much of a choice.”
“Elmer Wayne is right,” said condemned prisoner, Campbell. “I like to be able to choose. That’s why I like going to Burger King more than McDonald’s cause when I go to Burger King if I choose to not have pickles and lettuce on my burger than I can. I can have it MY way…whereas at McDonald’s I have to have my burger their way. I’m proud to be incarcerated in a state that says if I want to die in the electric chair over lethal injection well damn it….I can.”
“Oh they can still select lethal injection if they so choose,” said Lester. “And that’s the great thing about our state: they GET that choice. Remember, as our state slogan goes “Virginia is for Lovers”.
As to what the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan has to do with putting people to death remains a topic for later discussion…..but the fact remains that Virginia is one of the the few states progressive enough to advocate for choice when it comes to how one wants to be put down.
The Pro Choice Group, “Execution with Dignity”, agrees.
“We’ve been fighting for this for a long time and we feel very good about how far Virginia has come,” said “Execution with Dignity” spokesperson, Mike Oxlittle.
“We hope such a move will begin to open the doors to more choices like lynchings and the firing squad,” added Oxlittle.
A recent poll shows that by far the majority of condemned inmates of the Virginia system like having a choice and most, now that they’re to be given a choice, would choose the electric chair.
“Most everyone I’ve known who chose lethal injection just didn’t like it,” said Campbell. “Something about it just didn’t feel right. And most of them told me if given the choice to do it all over again they would take the electric chair any day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
Reminded that it seemed improbable that his now deceased contemporaries could have expressed their execution preferences after the fact, Campbell said he was more or less being anecdotal.
“Well, I may have embellished my story some….but generally speaking, I stand by what I said,” said a resolute Campbell. “Choice is a great thing. Choice is an American thing.”