AUSTIN, Texas — It was supposed to have been an exhilarating day spent with her family at Six Flags Over Texas, but a 75-foot fall from the Texas Giant roller coaster left Rosa Esparza, 52, dead, and sent officials looking for answers. Responding to a call from Sen. Edward Markey (D-M.A.) for federal oversight, Texas Governor Rick Perry offered a bold plan that would protect his state’s roller coasters from what he claims are unwarranted federal intrusions.
Promising that local investigations would soon uncover what caused Esparza to be ejected from her seat in midair, Perry further pledged to “turn the design flaw into a standard feature shared by all restraints aboard the Lone Star State’s roller coasters.” Lamenting the loss of an innocent woman like Rosa, Perry envisioned a future in which the rides “would be used exclusively to carry out mass executions of the state’s most heinous offenders.”
The efficiency afforded by such a change would help secure Texas’s top ranking in terms of number of executions carried out since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Perry, who remains staunchly pro-life at least in regard to matters of the unborn, highlighted the need to respond to growing competition in the arena of capital punishment. “Not only does Florida have fantastic theme parks with wild rides, they also sentenced more convicted killers to death row in 2012 than any other state, ours included. Read my lips, Florida: Don’t mess with Texas’s record on executions.”
Responding to persistent allegations of racial discrimination in death penalty cases, Perry assured citizens that “the wooden cowboy cutouts guarding the entrance to the coasters don’t care about the color of your skin or your life circumstances. So long as you are at least 54 inches tall and have committed a capital crime, you get to ride the ride.”
Before leaving to meet with Esparza’s family and offer his condolences, Perry addressed concerns that the plan would involve a particularly cruel and unusual form of punishment. The governor, however, reassured the press corps that family members of the condemned would get to share in their last meal—including a choice of corndog or oversized turkey leg—and take home a complimentary photo keepsake of their loved one experiencing the thrill of their final moments aboard the new and improved Texas Giant.