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Death is a common denominator amongst all living creatures on this planet. We, as a society, seem to have an obsession with death and how we will end our lives. From illness, to suicide, to unexpected death, our last moments have more of a weighted meaning than the moments from the prime of our lives. This is likely why our society has such an obsession with the last words spoken before death. The death penalty has been a focal point of controversy for the last several decades, but it’s been a practice that’s been in existence for hundreds of years as being put to death was a customary punishment for even the simplest offences.
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Now, if you’re an inmate on death row, the date and time of the end of your life has already been determined. It can be either relaxing or unsettling to know when your death will be, but it can also provide an ample opportunity to prepare the perfect set of last words. If you knew you were going to die, what would be your last words? This video provides ten of the most shocking last words by inmates who were on death row. From quirky, to confusing, to profound, these inmates really shook the core of those around them enough to where people are still talking about their last words today.
For example, Robert Towery was put to death in 2012 by lethal injection and said, “I love my family. Potato, potato, potato.” This is quite a confusing set of last words. The first sentence makes sense, but them the “potato” part not so much. Was his family named potato? Did he want to eat a potato? Regardless of the reason, it made numerous people raise an eyebrow to the statement. Perhaps weird last words such as this could even mean something to a long lost friend or relative out there, or the inmate just wanted to have one last hurrah, even if it was psychologically.
Then we have death row inmates who can be humorous and sassy on their last day. For example, George Appel was sentenced to death after killing an NYPD officer. As he prepared to get into the electric chair, he said, “Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.” But he wasn’t the only one to make a joke out of his name. James D. French was initially sentenced to life in prison. Not wanting to commit suicide, he killed his cell mate so that he could be executed. His last words before being electrocuted were, “Here’s this for a headline? ‘French Fries’.”
Finally, the impact of last words could quite have the potential to change the world or force people to rethink their morals and standards. Robert Drew was executed in 1994 and said, “Remember, the death penalty is murder.” For a murderer to say that, it seems as though he is leveling the playing field with the judicial system.
As we continue to live our lives, perhaps the concept of last words should be more of a forethought instead of an afterthought. Most of us will luckily never have the “luxury” that death row inmates have in knowing the time and date of our death.