The State of Texas just ended “last meals” for death row inmates. This past Wednesday, white supremacist, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was executed for chaining and dragging, James Byrd Junior, a black man, behind his truck until the poor man was dead. Brewer ordered and then refused to eat his outrageously-lavish last meal. Texas lawmakers went nuts and the tradition is over.
I know this is getting off subject, but when you look at the article I linked below, check out Brewer’s picture. I am not sure where he got the “white supremacist” moniker. He looks like the guy who owned my neighborhood convenience store when I lived in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. The locals referred to the store and others like it as L’Arabe since they were typically owned by a Middle Eastern or North African family. These stores were open during hours the Parisian stores weren’t – like Sundays and the whole month of August. A girl could starve.
Whether a self-styled white supremacist or not, Brewer was a nasty man. I have lived a lot of places and been amazed and not amused by the inter and intra-race hating that goes on in the name of supremacy. Some people are just ignorant and stupid. Okay back to the topic.
In the article entitled “Texas ends the tradition of allowing death-row inmates final meal choice” by Guy Adams for the Independent in the UK, Mr. Adams tells us a little about how and why the tradition began and gives some interesting examples of final meals. Here is what he writes about the tradition. “The tradition of a final meal stretches back to ancient Greece, China and Rome, according to death-penalty historian K. William Hayes. He told the Associated Press that its roots are believed to lie in the ancient superstition that providing the food will help ward off subsequent haunting by the condemned men or women.”
Now you know – if you ever see a ghost, offer him or her a snack. If not being well-fed is a criteria for ghostliness then I’ll never be one.
At the very end of the article were several interesting final meals, including the last meal of Victor Harry Feguer. Victor was the last US federal prisoner put to death before our own home-grown terrorist and white supremacist, Timothy McVeigh.
Before he was hanged in Fort Madison, Iowa in 1963, Feguer asked for an olive with the pit still in it as his last meal. Guy Adams reports that Feguer wanted to eat the olive and have it grow from inside him as a symbol of peace. I do not believe that statement to be true. After Feguer was executed the olive was found in his suit pocket. Feguer had spent the night before with his priest and I believe the unpitted olive in his pocket was meant to be an act of contrition. It makes more sense that Fequer’s last meal request would be linked to his night-long prayer vigil with a Roman Catholic priest.
May the sun shine through your branches.