Honolulu Lite


Sunday, May 6, 2001

It’s your last
meal, so you’d better
make it count

One of the good things about not having a death penalty in Hawaii is that no prisoners have to go through the cruel and unusual punishment of trying to figure out what their last meal would be.

That's got to be one of the most stressful things you can go through. I mean, other than execution. How do you choose what you want for your last meal? I know I have trouble eating before speaking in public; I imagine I'd be a tad too nervous to eat before a big event like being electrocuted.

But say you aren't the nervous type. You know you're going to die, and you want something yummy before you go. Do you go for the high end, like a big steak? Risky. You know they are going to screw it up. If you order it medium rare, they'll bring it to you well done. And what are you going to do? Send it back?

I hear a lot of condemned people request food from McDonald's. I assume they are ordering Big Macs and things like that, not "Happy Meals." That McDonald's has had such an impact on society says something, and not something very good. Look, there's a time for fast food, and there's a time to slow down a bit. You're about to fry -- why the rush?

I started thinking about last meals because of a peculiar story I read on the news wires. It involved the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which is usually peculiar enough. But this story was wild by even PETA standards. It seems that PETA has asked Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh not to eat meat for his last meal before execution.

This is weird on so many levels. McVeigh murdered 168 people, including many children. He is going to die for it. All of our focus should be on the families of the victims of that crime, with the hope that they might get some iota of peace from McVeigh's demise. If we must hear anything at all from McVeigh, it should be him apologizing to his victims. Instead, PETA attempts to turn the focus of discussion to what McVeigh will eat before he's put to sleep. Really, what do we care what this creep eats before he's executed? He could bite the head off a rat for all it should matter.

But it does matter to PETA, which will stoop to anything to get publicity. (If he had said he WAS going to kill and eat a rat, PETA would have had a cow, or broccoli or something.) PETA's plan worked. McVeigh responded to PETA saying he understands its concern, but he wouldn't blacklist meat from the final menu.

"Truth is, I understand your cause -- I've seen slaughterhouses myself -- but I still believe in reasonable taking and eating of game, as an outdoorsman and hunter," he wrote. Outdoorsman? Check it out, man: You're an indoorsman now.

McVeigh then goes into an obscene discussion of animal rights and vegetarianism, arguing that "Plants are alive, too. They react to pain. What about them?"

A guy who called slaughtered children "collateral damage" worries about plant pain? Please. The only thing I want to know about McVeigh's last supper is when it is over.

Alo-Ha! Friday compiles odd bits of news from Hawaii
and the world to get your weekend off to an entertaining start.
Charles Memminger also writes Honolulu Lite Mondays,
Wednesdays and Sundays. Send ideas to him at the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210,
Honolulu 96813, phone 235-6490 or e-mail

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