Everyone dies, and everyone needs food to live. If you were given the choice to have your very last meal before you die, what kind of food would you choose?
A few months ago, I watched this Buzzfeed video (watch: here) about prisoners’ last meals. Most states in America use the term “last meal” to indicate the special food & drink brought for prisoners before their death penalties. The state of Texas, however, abolished all last meal requests after a prisoner named Lawrence Russell Brewer asked for a massive meal without eating any of it. At that time, Lawrence requested a plate of two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions, a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger, a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapeños, a bowl of fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecued meat with half of a loaf of white bread, a portion of three fajitas, a meat-lover’s pizza (topped with pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon, and sausage), a pint of Blue Bell, a serving of ice cream, a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts, and a serving equivalent to three root beers. And he did not even take one bite, can’t you believe that? What makes me so angry is the fact that racist white-supremacist Lawrence killed a black man by dragging him with a rope, yet the institution still gave him the privilege of choosing his last, grand meal.
Besides America, countries that offer the privilege of last meal are United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, and even Indonesia. Here are some examples of last meals inquired by prisoners on death rows:
- Kentucky Fried Chicken inquired by Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran: Australian ringleaders of the Bali Nine. Mona Fandey, a murderer from Malaysia who was later executed by hanging at Kajang Prison, also asked for the same thing.
- A pizza and a cup of hot chocolate, asked by a serial killer from Singapore named John Martin Scripps. He was later executed by hanging.
- The traditional last meal: steak (medium rare), eggs (over easy), hash browns, toast with butter and jelly, milk, juice for Ted Bundy. He was a rapist who got executed in an electric chair (served him right!)
- A single olive was asked by Victor Feguer, a kidnapper and murderer who got executed by lethal injection in 1963.
- 12 fried shrimp, KFC, strawberries, and french fries for John Wayne: a murderer and raper who got executed by lethal injection.
- Two pints of mint-and-chocolate-chip ice cream for Timothy McVeigh, a murderer.
- Two grilled cheese sandwiches, pint of cottage cheese, Hominy/corn mixture, peach pie, chocolate-chip ice cream, radishes for Stephen Anderson. He did 7 murders, burglary, and assault.
- A large meat pizza for Steven Frederic Spears who committed murder in Georgia.
- Lobster tail, steak, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, eaten while watching the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy were all asked by Ronnie Lee Gardner. He did robbery and murder,
- Fried chicken, peas with butter, apple pie, and a soda drink for Teresa Lewis. She did murder, conspiracy, robbery, and was later killed by lethal injection.
The serving of final meals was initially assumed as “peace offerings” between the punisher (the institution) and the punished (the prisoner). In the olden times when everything was superstitiously-inclined, last meal requirements were used to avoid the return of vengeful evil spirits. Some prisoners might try to deny the fact that they have to die soon, by refusing the privilege of last meals — such as Ted Bundy, who ordered no meals, and Aileen Wuornos, who only drank a cup of coffee. Both prisoners believed they were innocent of guilt.
Personally, I think last meal privilege is so overrated, especially in the United States. A lot of innocent African-Americans, from adolescent to the elderly, get killed by police brutality and institutionalized racism. Tamir Rice, age 12, got shot by police for holding a fake pistol in a city park. This young boy with full potentials and future ahead of him didn’t get the privilege of enjoying his last meal. Innocent people get killed by police for nothing, yet murderers and rapists are offered this whole “last meal” privilege. Give me a break, the appropriate last meal for people like Leo Echegaray, who raped his 10-year-old step-daughter, was not pizza or sardines. For racist white-supremacist like Lawrence Russell, was not a goddamn pile of junk food. The only last meal appropriate for those kinds of people is 12.7mm bullet shot through their mouths. Someone who rapes girls — especially young girls — deserves to experience the most painful death available, not the privilege of indulging delicious food.