'90s Nostalgia Alert: Old Sparky Might Be Making a Comeback!
image courtesy of Florida Department of Corrections
Wow! It hasn't been this good of a time for fans of the '90s since the actual '90s themselves! Netflix is rebooting Full House , Gwen Stefani's best breakup single since "Don't Speak" is tearing up the iTunes charts, and Nickelodeon is playing all your favorite OG Nicktoons again!
Now another icon we haven't heard much from since the turn of the century might be making a comeback. Yeah, you're hearing this right. Florida's electric chair, Old Sparky, might be back in commission for the first time since 1999! Talk about a nostalgia trip!
Remember Old Sparky? Of course, you do! All true '90s Florida kids do! It was the state's sole means of execution from 1924 until 2000. In fact, Florida was one of the last states to move away from using electrocution as its default death penalty method because back in the '90s we were a backward state afraid of progress and change ... Well, we guess not everything has changed since the '90s! LOL! In fact, Florida is one of just eight states that still technically maintains an electric chair as a secondary means of execution, but only if the death-row inmate specifically asks for it.
Remember learning when you were a kid that the state's main instrument of punishment by death was colloquially referred to by a cutesy nickname and thinking for a second that that was really odd? Remember when you were a small child and it seemed to you that some adults in the state were actually somehow proud that we used this backward and brutal method? But you didn't think too much about it because, hey, Power Rangers was on! It was Morphin' Time!
Remember your parents awkwardly changing the channel when the news went into details about all the gruesome mishaps involving the state's electric chair in the '90s? Like the time those six-inch flames reportedly shot out of one inmate's head in 1990? Or a full foot of fire came out of the mouth of another in 1997? How about the final straw when in 1999 the state executed Allen Lee Davis but thanks to someone not properly fitting the head strap his body became soaked in blood and chilling photos of the savage aftermath eventually forced the state to adopt lethal injection as its primary means of execution in 2000? Remember? Cowabunga, dude!
Well, for the first time since the switch, a death-row inmate has requested to be put to death by Old Sparky. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Wayne Doty, who has been sitting on death row since 2011 for killing a fellow inmate while he was already serving life in prison for the previous murder of a night watchman at a Plant City factory, wants to die and die quickly. In fact, he wasn't even scheduled for execution yet but hopes to speed to process along. Someone call up Daria, because this would make a great episode of Sick, Sad World!
"I think his goal is to get put to death as quickly as possible," Sean Fisher, a private investigator who once on Doty's defense case, told the paper. "I think he's nervous about lethal injection being found unconstitutional."
Doty reportedly wants the "spiritual freedom" and closure for the families of his victims that he believes that only death can bring.
Gov. Rick Scott is notably execution-happy and was one track to become the governor who signed the most execution orders in Florida's history until a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection was filed. Despite this, he did sign his first execution order in nine months earlier in October. Animaniacs!
The Florida Department of Corrections was reportedly caught off guard by Doty's request and wouldn't comment other to say that it's being reviewed.
Doty is now asking for the sweet relief of death from the very system that failed him. The Times reports that he grew up with a physically and emotionally abusive father who regularly beat women in front of him. He soon became a truant and runaway who was caught up in the juvenile corrections system but never received that proper treatment and counseling he needed. As an adult, he turned to drugs and seeking meth was a motivator in his original murder. He once tried to commit suicide in prison but never received any mental health counseling there either.
Now he hopes to find solace in Old Sparky!
Of course, like all things we haven't thought much about since our childhood, we're likely to view them with more adult eyes now. Like, how you sometimes wonder if Sam from Clarissa Explains It All was gay or why was the grandpa from Hey Arnold's head shaped like a dick?
In Hey Arnold, Grandpa's head is shaped like a penis. pic.twitter.com/C9leoq4pP7— Not Common Facts ™ (@NotCommonFacts) May 2, 2014
Questions like, is death really a greater punishment than being forced to live out the rest of your natural life in the confines of death row having to reflect each day on where exactly your life went wrong?
Why would we grant a murderer his request to die when we don't do the same for people living with the pain and misery of terminal, incurable illnesses?
In any event, it's unlikely that the FDOC will grant Doty's request to dust of a notoriously faulty apparatus that hasn't been used in 16 years, but at least we got to take a trip down memory lane! Now, if only Hulu would reboot Pinky and the Brain, then we'd be in business!