Wednesday, April 30, 2014

to hell with the last meal, just kill me already!

I would like to take a minute to reflect on the idea of the last meal...

First let me describe what I would ask for if I were on death row and facing the final breath that next morning...

I am very close to my mom, my Nana and my aunt so I would ask for my favorite dish from each of them to be prepared all in one meal. Every Christmas my mom makes breakfast casserole for the two of us and it is by far one of my favorite dishes that she makes. Eating this would allow me to reminisce on all of the Christmases that I spent with my mom eating breakfast, opening gifts from Santa, and watching the Macy's Christmas Day Parade. The best dish that my Nana makes is turkey dressing on Thanksgiving. I am very picky so she makes a special dish for me that has no onions, only celery. She always thinks that it has too much sage, but my taste buds go to heaven every time. And last but not least, I would have my aunt's broccoli casserole. She says it is a pain in the ass to make, but it is so worth it every Easter Sunday after church.

As you can tell, all of my favorite dishes come along with the holidays which make them even more special than if they were separated from that time of year. I believe that these foods symbolize memories and traditions that my family has been doing within the last 10 years which is why I have such strong ties to them. A holiday without one of those dishes would be weird...

Can I play devil's advocate for a second though? Can I contradict myself too?

Yeah? Okay...Check out this video!

Even though I have my entire death row dinner planned out, I cannot say that I agree with this program. Why should a death row inmate who committed murder, for instance, be able to get something they actually want, that is satisfactory to them before they take their final breath? They sure as to hell were not thinking about the repercussions of their actions while stabbing their ex-wife in the chest over child custody issues, so I still question: WHY? I do not like to think about the fact that our tax dollars are paying a nice meal to be prepared for someone who no longer contributes to the system and deserves to be on death row. Maybe that is because, at the end of the day, food is just food to me--it is just natural, if that makes sense. I do not think about food on another level of how important it is to people, to my family or even to myself. I mean sure the breakfast casserole on Christmas morning means something because it is a tradition, but at the same time, it is still just food. Maybe I'm wrong for thing this way, but I like playing devil's advocate and it is really hard for me to get over the fact that a death row inmate gets such a privilege.

What do you think? Is is fair for an inmate to receive such treatment? If you were in the situation, how would a last meal be significant to your life--or would it be?


  1. I grappled with the same problem, Lakan. On one hand, death row criminals have done some truly awful things to other people, and in the name of justice, deserve the punishment that has been handed to them, without the luxury of a last meal. On the other hand, however, especially in light of the segment of the movie we watched in class, it is their last meal on earth, and maybe in the name of mercy and humanity they should be allowed that one act of peace, not deserving of it, but as an act of mercy. I'm still not entirely sure where I fall on the issue honestly, but it is something to think about. If I were picking my last meal, I would want chocolate chip pancakes and syrup the way my fiance makes them, because it'd be comforting as well as really good.

  2. You raise a valid concern with the program of catering to death-row inmates' last meal wishes, and I can certainly see how it might seem like an unwarranted luxury for people who have been found guilty of horrendous crimes. But I think every human being, regardless of their past history of crimes, deserves to feel like a human being, and I think the Last Meal helps in this sense. Imagine if you were on death row--being kept alive to be killed at a certain date. Imagine the stress, the sadness, the anger, or the sheer fear you would feel. I don't even claim to be able to fully feel what these folks must feel, but I might go so far as to say that it is probably easy to feel like your very humanity has been taken away from you.

    A last meal, then, is a small gesture that might remedy this plight. As we have seen even after two days of class, food has a huge connection with emotions and our very humanity. While other animals eat that which merely sustains them, we as human beings eat food that gives us pleasure. Without even this small luxury, we feel degraded and base. As such, I think one last meal before facing death--the greatest and most daunting tormenter of the human race--is something that should be afforded to even those inmates who are found guilty to have committed even horrible crimes.