Utah AG Announces Execution Go-Ahead on Twitter

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced his giving the go-ahead for Ronnie Lee Gardner's execution last night in real-time on Twitter.

What progress (not), we've moved from the Executioner's Song to the Executioner's Tweet. "Firing Squad" is now trending on Twitter. At least he didn't post a twit-pic.

What a big black eye for Utah and the U.S. As I wrote last night, even Vietnam outlawed death by firing squad this week.

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    Why god Shurtleff? (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 12:51:04 PM EST
    You had the power...none higher required.

    What a d*ck.

    I was going to say (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:31:52 PM EST
    Pompous a**

    But I like yours better.


    I'm sure the... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:42:34 PM EST
    Notorious G.O.D. has an even better word when Jerk-leff's turn comes....if he/she/it does exist I'd imagine he/she/it doesn't appreciate cats like Jerk-leff encroaching on his/her/it's action any more than when cats like the firing squad victim do it.

    But what do I know, I'm just a confused agnostic/atheist tryin' to do as little harm as possible.


    Concur 100% (none / 0) (#46)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 08:35:28 PM EST
    "most of us"? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Democratic Cat on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 01:15:57 PM EST
    Are you sure you are on the right blog?  Murdering this one man doesn't diminish the pool of bad people out there. And he wasn't out there, he was locked up. Although he would be able to harm those he came into contact with at the prison (prison safety is a separate topic for discussion) he posed no harm to the public. So we have gotten rid of someone who poses no further threat. It's murder, plain and simple.

    I appreciate kdog's comment -- the executed man showed no mercy for his victims, it is true. And neither did the governor. Pot, meet kettle.

    Many a settlement is built (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:03:26 PM EST
    or a plane crashed into a building on just that principal..

    Tribes (or "units"), with tribal rules and tribal deities, vying for tribal survival.

    The method doesn't make it less objectionable (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by markpkessinger on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:53:30 PM EST
    First, let me say that announcing the death of another human being via twitter is just appalling.

    I am vehemently opposed to capital punishment for a variety of reasons.  But having said that, I think the idea that the firing squad is somehow inherently worse than lethal injection or any of the other accepted methods is rather silly.  In fact, from the point of view of the person being executed, the firing squad may actually be preferable to lethal injection.  (And it should be pointed out that the condemned prisoner himself chose this method over others available.)  It is really facetious to suggest that lethal injection, for example, is any less violent than a firing squad.  Death is death, and state-sanctioned killing is state-sanctioned killing and is always violent, no matter how much we try to console ourselves that we "modern" types are so much more humane than our forebears in how we carry out executions.

    According to Wiki, the physician who (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:14:13 PM EST
    first suggested lethal injection to implement death penalty did so because, according to him, it would save money.

    I was going to say (none / 0) (#47)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 08:41:23 PM EST
    that I was pretty sure the change in method had little to do with the preferences or comfort of the victim and everything to do with the convenience to the state.

    Well .. getting rid of bad people ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by nyrias on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 12:51:40 PM EST
    is not exactly looked upon as a BAD thing for most of us.

    The REAL bad people (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 01:37:39 PM EST
    are the ones who uncritically and simplemindedly cling to the notion that humanity is just divided up into good and bad people; with the state and a stern taskmaster in the sky as the final arbiter

    And (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 01:40:57 PM EST
    The really really bad people, get turned on by the idea of public executions, national teevee..

    It makes them feel as if they were the ones actually carrying out the execution, no blood on their hands either. Like a video game.



    Not to mention... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 01:58:31 PM EST
    if mother nature had been so kind as to make it an easy to understand good/bad world...executioners and those that supply them with execution orders would have to be firmly in the bad column, no?

    Or (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:06:25 PM EST
    A special category that is far worse. The other side of the coin, the one that judges the executioners and their masters:

    "To kill for killing is an immeasurably greater punishment than the crime itself.  To be killed by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than to be killed by robbers."

    Raskolnikov's quote from the Idiot


    I'd have to start believing in (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:27:44 PM EST
    that Old Testament miracle working burning bush of theirs if this country ever produced a Dostoyevsky or a Camus.

    Half of us these days cant even differentiate between a display of brute force by the state or the economically powerful and genuine virtue..


    No special categories... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:44:13 PM EST
    in this fantasy there are only two columns...Good and Bad, A and B...just like your local neighborhood Chinese Restaurant.

    Mental short hand (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 03:36:29 PM EST
    of fairly limited usage all in all. Though obviously opinions differ

    Another good and simple quote from the same (none / 0) (#44)
    by Raskolnikov on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:35:20 PM EST
    "It's said, 'Do not kill.'  So he killed, and then they kill him?"

    sure .. there are black, white and grey .. (none / 0) (#34)
    by nyrias on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:36:36 PM EST
    but someone who murdered TWO is certainly on one end of the spectrum.

    If he cannot be classified as bad, the word loses its meaning.


    Most of us (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:12:33 PM EST
    to include China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi, United States and Yemen.  Need one say more?

    most of us? (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by waldenpond on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 02:15:28 PM EST
    'Most of us' would never volunteer to put a target on someone and shoot them.

    'getting rid of'   ugh.


    most of us? (none / 0) (#53)
    by sj on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 10:34:01 AM EST
    Please do not include me in your definition of "us".  My thinking is not so simplistic.

    As I get older (none / 0) (#4)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    I begin to understand some of the simpler contingencies of life better. Not the complex stuff -- obviously not -- just the simple ideas. Given who will ultimately decide my fate should I cross paths with the criminal justice system, I think...maybe killing a lawyer is not a very good idea.

    Well, isn't that (none / 0) (#16)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 03:33:24 PM EST
    special?  Obviously, he's so proud.  Why not just televise it on national TV, while he's at it?

    There are good reasons (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 03:43:46 PM EST
    why Joe Hill said "bury me anywhere but Utah".

    In A Way (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:00:42 PM EST
    Public executions would be a good idea. Why hide the barbarity, as long as we are doing it we may as well let the world see how blood thirsty Americans really are.

    IOW visibility may be the best way to end it.


    I dont know about that (none / 0) (#23)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:10:00 PM EST
    it used to be practically a form of neighborhood entertainment for centuries. With, in some cases, the executions becoming more and more barbaric; culminating in the hanging of ten year olds in the early eighteenth century in England and the "ordeals" imposed on those accused of regicide, or attempted regicide.

    Some of the yahoos in this country would probably become addicted to it and form fan clubs and fantasy execution leagues.


    Yes (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:13:50 PM EST
    But that was when people prided themselves in being Barbarians.

    Now it is hidden but alive and well. Sunlight is the best disinfectant here. Bring it out, let the people cheer, and then bring shame on them.

    It is not a movie.


    millions are already .. (2.00 / 1) (#35)
    by nyrias on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:39:43 PM EST

    There is only shame if it is not accepted by the norm. In a country where capital punishment is supported by teh majority, there is no shame in cheering for getting rid of the scums.


    Sick (none / 0) (#54)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 11:25:35 AM EST
    Yeah, millions are cheering the death of a human, in your mind, enhanced by mental surround sound®, no doubt.

    Your bloodlust is no different from the killer.


    Surely not, re you last sentence. (none / 0) (#55)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 01:26:01 PM EST
    OK (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 01:49:58 PM EST
    Narius' bloodlust is greater.. I was trying to be nice.

    And dont know (none / 0) (#26)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:21:40 PM EST
    if it's that much of a leap from proudly cheering shock 'n awe, to large numbers proudly rah-rahing at executions. I'd like to think it was..

    It's not just Utah...

    It's also the Supreme Court (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:43:30 PM EST
    grandstanding for people like the ones in Utah..

    Just a question... (none / 0) (#27)
    by lentinel on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:24:35 PM EST
    I know that the firing squad seems more barbaric than a lethal injection. But I wonder - for the recipient - whether the firing squad might not be quicker and less painful. I have read that the lethal injection could cause agonizing pain for an indeterminate amount of time.

    And - if they are going to kill somebody with bullets, - is there any reason that they can't put the guy to sleep via general anesthesia and then shoot the mofo?

    The mask - de rigeur I assume - the blank in one of the guns - really grisly.

    If making it painless and non-sadistic (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 04:39:42 PM EST
    were really the object, I'd think they'd just overdose them on morphine or heroin. Simple enough "solution" to (some) of the barbarism..

    But lets face it, this isn't JUST about permanently "kicking someone off the planet", or else some states wouldn't offer the victims (now victimizers), the opportunity to watch the show.


    It is my understanding this inmate (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:26:06 PM EST
    chose firing squad over lethal injection.

    Why do suppose they (none / 0) (#33)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:30:06 PM EST
    dont just use morphine?

    It's quite effective in large dosages, from everything I've ever read.


    Maybe this? Who knows? (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:40:17 PM EST
    I would imagine it's because everyone's (none / 0) (#37)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:46:46 PM EST
    tolerance is different.  

    When I dislocated my shoulder, I was given "conscious sedation" prior to the shoulder being reduced back into the socket.  They give you a combination of drugs - Versed and morphine, I think - and they do it gradually, all the while monitoring your heart and respiration.  Normally, the patient pretty much just checks out at some point - conscious, but totally out-to-lunch -  and they get about the business of putting the joint back where it belongs.  The plan is that you won't even remember the procedure.

    So...they gave me some, then gave me more.  And then more.  And then more.  And more.  I was still sitting up talking with the docs, wondering when I was going to go to the La La Land they told me would be my destination on this little trip.  

    Finally, they said, "there's no way you could be feeling any pain - we've given this much to people twice your size and had them stop breathing on us."

    So, they proceeded to put the shoulder back in, but I never zoned out and remember the whole thing with great clarity.  

    Now, I am not fond of the La La Land experience - my Type A personality liking to be in control at all times, lol - so was it that I was "fighting" the effects, or just had a very high tolerance?

    I guess my point is that I don't know if there would be a standard lethal dose, even if they took height and weight into consideration.


    This is a point (none / 0) (#43)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:29:19 PM EST
    I have thought of several times, and it does show that avoidance of cruelty is not the motivation for the choice of methods. Obviously, the medical profession has had some experience and a modicum of success with anesthesizing people before mangling their bodies. They never seem to think the patient who dies on the table, with more damage than a bullet, knew anything.

    According to this news report, (none / 0) (#31)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:21:22 PM EST
    from ABCNews.com:

    Gardner had the choice between the firing squad and lethal injection because he was sentenced to death before Utah eliminated the firing squad as an option in 2004.

    So, apparently, even Utah has seen the barbarity in the firing squad, but not so much that they would eliminate it even for those sentenced before the law changed.

    And Gardner did have the choice between lethal injection and the firing squad, and he chose the firing squad.

    In 2004, Utah lawmakers made lethal injection available in death penalty cases but inmates condemned before then were given the choice of a firing squad. In April, a judge asked Gardner for his preference. "I would like the firing squad, please," he politely replied.

    Is death by lethal injection really more humane?

    Maybe the real question is, is the death penalty, by any means, in any way humane?

    I hate it (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 05:55:30 PM EST
    when people bring facts into the discussion. All that self-rightous anger gone to waste...

    Sorry... :-) (none / 0) (#40)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:02:21 PM EST
    I thought I had heard something on the radio this morning about how this was Gardner's choice, and decided to see if there was any info on what his other choices were - if what I had heard was true.

    Was kind of surprised to find out that Utah changed the law in 2004 - still not sure why it wasn't eliminated as an "option" for those like Gardner, who were sentenced before then.


    The Mormon Doctrine of Blood Atonement (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 07:40:54 PM EST
    Brigham Young said some sins require the shedding of blood of the perpetrator to gain some forgiveness....

    The Mormon Church now says it does not espouse the doctrine of Blood Atonement.  But it still holds sway with Mormons such as Gardner--and is believed by many Mormons today....  


    Did not know that... (none / 0) (#48)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 08:42:18 PM EST
    thanks for the info.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#41)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 06:11:43 PM EST
    Im sure any minute you were going to have some strong feelings about this case. Must be a relief.

    Regressive times (none / 0) (#50)
    by klassicheart on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 11:57:20 PM EST
    The dumbing down of our culture with Twitter....sad state of our times.  

    WSWS on execution in Utah (none / 0) (#52)
    by Andreas on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 02:43:44 AM EST
    Everything about this state killing--the method employed, the conduct of the authorities, the condemned man's personal history, and the reaction of the families of the executed and his victims--speaks to the brutality of both capital punishment and the political establishment in the US that promotes it.

    An execution by firing squad in Utah
    By Kate Randall, 19 June 2010