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Sunday, 4 May 2008

image for Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Texas executions become #1 tourist draw
Headline act from last year.

In Texas, the leading death-penalty and concealed carry state in the US, choice Huntsville vacation slots are quickly snapped up by shoppers looking for something a little different for their Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Less than three weeks after the United States Supreme Court ended a moratorium on ticket-scalping at public floggings and hangings, at least 14 execution dates have been set for the peak season of May through October.

"The Supreme Court has essentially blessed the old-fashioned Texan way of doing things," said Douglas A. Birdman, a professor of law and the best hanging pundit at Texas State University.

"Rope makers, electricians, poisoning experts and other artisans are back at their desks, churning out consumer-friendly ideas for upcoming performances."

Most Texans welcome the end of the moratorium.

"We'll start playing a little bit of catch-up," said William Williams, a tour booking agent based in Huntsville.

"It's not like we have an official cheering section for the death penalty" Mr. Williams said, adding: "any cheering and crowd applause is entirely impromptu and unrehearsed."

Last year, Texas accounted for a record number of execution extravaganzas, with the high-priced tickets disappearing almost faster than overworked prosecutors could secure the convictions.

According to the Lone Star Tourism Center, death sentence performances in Texas have risen from a piddling 137 in 1977 to last year's record bookings, when 326 nearly back-to-back executions were offered to stadiums crammed with screaming, popcorn-munching spectators.

One Houston fan is philosophical about the tourism draw of death.

"Yeah, it's cruel," he said, "but hey, a life lived in Texas is a whole lot worse - it's torture."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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