Death Row Trivia

There are essentially two major kinds of execution; legal and illegal. Throughout history, corporal punishment, particularly execution, has played a major role in the development of modern society. Many would agree, that a fair way to judge any country, or region, is by observing the punishment it deals out to criminals. Murder wasn’t always the only crime punishable by death; non-homicidal rape for example, was only recently changed from an executable crime, to one that warrants only jail time. Adultery, stealing horses, –especially horse stealing, and even thieving in gneral, were all hanging crimes. One of the most charming ways to executon by hanging, was to say that they are “marrying the ropemaker’s daughter”; a noose being the practical offspring of the ropemake of course.

Which state has the most legal executions? Texas, of course. Through the 90’s, and the present decade, Texas makes the high marks in its number of executions. California, however, has the highest number of death row prisoners, among the top three highest, the other two being o course, Texas, and Florida. The comedian Ron White once said, “In Texas, we have the death penalty express lane.” True enough; while California has the highest number of death row inmates, then Florida, Texas comes in third, because their inmates actually receive the death penalty. More often than not, in other states, death row inmates receive sentence reductions; Charles Manson for instance, will be up for parole in a few years.

Then there’s the second kind of execution, usually carried out in the name of justice, though not by any official judicial decision. The South is credited with the bulk of lynchings, aka, illegal executions. However, the North just kept their public crimes under better wraps, –after all, they were/are the ones with all the money. The largest lynching in history was that of “Big Mary”, who was hung by the neck until dead, in September of 1916, for the murder of up to eight people, according to rumor. Big Mary weighed five tons, according to the records, and was claimed to be the largest elephant ever held in captivity. Attempts to shoot her in the head failed, so she was hung from a railroad derrick car, in front of thousands of spectators.

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