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Utah Attorney General Tweets Execution Order

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the internet-over-we-lost dept.

Communications 556

Kilrah_il writes "In an all-time low for Internet use, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff used Twitter to announce to the public his approval of the execution of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner. 'I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner's execution. May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims,' the attorney general wrote. The AG's 7,000 followers retweeted the message further on and soon many replied concerning the awfulness of tweeting the execution of a human being. 'Mr. Shurtleff was doing nothing unusual; politicians and news organizations now routinely send out tweets to alert people to the latest developments. But as Twitter users digested endless breaking news flashes alerting them to the death of a man by firing squad in the United States, for some Mr. Shurtleff's remarks stood out from the rest.'"

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So ... (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633354)

The Utah AG was 'tweeting' while the murder was 'twitching'? This case received a lot of publicity (as most executions do) and he was just spreading the news as it happened. He's now qualified to work for one of the big networks.

Re:So ... (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633390)

I don't mind as long as he has the balls to also announce it himself in press conferences and/or interviews.

What worries me is the notion that politicians might begin to use twitter and other internet communication as a way to avoid interacting with the public(and the risk of being heckled or having a shoe or two thrown at 'em).

Re:So ... (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633634)

What worries me is the notion that politicians might begin to use twitter and other internet communication as a way to avoid interacting with the public

They are already doing this. Notice how there aren't too many House Democrats doing town halls [cbsnews.com] this summer? Why face our Consistency and justify our agenda when it's much easier to hide behind the Congressional leadership?

Re:So ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633428)

... he was just spreading the news as it happened.

And concurrently giving the world a fine example of why people in his state are routinely referred to as Utahrds.

whoopie (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633588)

Big deal....so he's just informing the majority of people that don't rely on the drive by media for news. No big deal....the dirtbag lived longer than he should have, and, at least (according to the reports) he lived for a few seconds after the execution and had to THINK about spending eternity in HELL!

Re:whoopie (-1, Flamebait)

slashdotisgay2 (1832210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633750)

Who the fuck are you to decide what he deserves. He's probably innocent anyway. Maybe you should spend a few years suffering before you finally go to hell you worthless sack of shit.

Re:whoopie (2, Insightful)

daeglo (1822126) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633798)

He's probably innocent anyway.

Reference, please?

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633360)

Pretty soon we will have the pleasure of seeing the president communicating in a similar fashion when starting another (pointless) war.

Re:So? (5, Funny)

Jamza (1832368) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633596)

"World peace has been declared. LOL jk We are invading Africa"

Re:So? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633672)

    Another war? Didn't we just declare war on Canada last week? Did we finish that one already?

So the residents of Utah (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633364)

Follow their AG on twitter in order to stay in touch with their government, but they don't want to hear the icky stuff? Is that right?

Re:So the residents of Utah (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633600)

So the residents of Utah follow their AG on twitter in order to stay in touch with their government, but they don't want to hear the icky stuff? Is that right?

Put out a press release and everyone will hear about it on the nightly news or in a print/online paper.
Twitter just doesn't have the gravitas (yet?) to be considered an appropriate venue to announce an execution.

Re:So the residents of Utah (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633656)

Who decides that? Who do we consult to find out if it's appropriate to read something on the Internet opposed to printed media?

Re:So the residents of Utah (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633814)

Who decides that? Who do we consult to find out if it's appropriate to read something on the Internet opposed to printed media?

The large numbers of Twitter users who spoke up to say how tasteless the AG's tweet was?

If you want to commission a formal poll, go ahead.
But the public has already spoken up on the matter.
You can go read their responses 140 characters at a time.

Re:So the residents of Utah (4, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633732)

I agree with the people offended by this AG. He should have simply used twitter when it is time for his press conference, using the press conference to announce the man's death in a professional manner. It makes sense for random people or news organizations to use twitter to spread news of the execution, but the AG should not be so informal, being the professional responsible for the execution (responsible in the sense of "in charge", not as in "to blame").

I don't think anyone would be offended at the "icky stuff" if he would just save it for the press conference or some other formal communication instead of twitter.

An all time low? I disagree (5, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633366)

This is a good thing, regardless of your stance on capital punishment.

The most important aspect of the internet, in my opinion, is that it shoves transparency down the throat of government.

For better or worse, this Governor's name and decision is now tied irrevocably to his decision to sign the execution order. He is accountable and his constituents and other voters around the country know what he did.

This is as it should be.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633416)

it's the Attorney General not the Governor

Re:An all time low? I disagree (3, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633440)

Yeah, I noticed that just immediately after I posted. You always miss the *one* thing...

Anyway, my mistake comes from living in Texas (long enough for the cumulative brain damage to be noticeable), where the governor's signature does, rather infamously [wikipedia.org] , go on execution orders.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633418)

He is accountable and his constituents and other voters around the country know what he did.

He's in Utah. His constituents won't do anything but reward him for it.

Let us hope (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633486)

He's in Utah. His constituents won't do anything but reward him for it.

If there is any justice in this world.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633716)

He's in Utah. His constituents won't do anything but reward him for it.

Then Utah has the kind of Attorney General it wants and deserves. That is one of the points of democracy, no?

Re:An all time low? I disagree (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633776)

I've spent some time in Utah and, although there are many things wrong with the state, not even Utah deserves Orin Hatch. They might deserve the AG though...

Re:An all time low? I disagree (0, Redundant)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633420)

I fully agree, mod parent up.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633498)

The most important aspect of the internet, in my opinion, is that it shoves transparency down the throat of government.

Bullshit -- this idiot would have trumpeted his action to the press with or without Twitter. Approving an execution probably made him feel like such a stallion that he ran home and fucked his wife blind.

For better or worse, this Governor's name and decision is now tied irrevocably to his decision to sign the execution order. He is accountable and his constituents and other voters around the country know what he did.

He was just as accountable two years ago. Let's see how transparent he will be in other circumstances, like, "Hey, nation, I'm halfway up my secret mistress's Appalachian Trail."

It is a good thing (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633546)

The most important aspect of the internet, in my opinion, is that it shoves transparency down the throat of government.

Your statement implies he was forced by some law to announce this over the internet. He chose to announce this, rather than being forced to. I agree that transparency is a great thing in government, but we should also be willing to acknowledge when those working in the government choose transparency and give them credit for doing so.

He is accountable and his constituents and other voters around the country know what he did.

Yes indeed, and this is as it should be - if you are for capital punishment, it is desirable to have executions announced because part of the point of them (besides removing someone truly irredeemable from the world) is deterrence. How can an act deter that no-one knows anything about?

Although frankly, I don't think announcing something over the internet really ties an action to anyone any more than public records already did. If you wanted to know who had signed off on executions before it was easy enough to look up.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (2, Insightful)

ncrypted (9589) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633650)

I have to agree with your disagreement.

If you read the Governor's other tweets, you can see that he clearly was making a difficult decision to take a man's life. The fact that he used new technology to let us see the process should be lauded, not decried. Now the people will have to face the results of their votes for politicians who are "tough on crime". Thankfully Gov. Herbert has put a human face on the debate.

Although the squeamish and European out there find it 'barbaric' or 'unfeeling', a multiple murderer got his. This man was not some "poor wretch" who was "wrongfully convicted". He was on trial for murder when he MURDERED ANOTHER PERSON. If ever there's an argument for capital punishment, this guy was it. So no-one should shed a tear for him, save his family.

As for the firing squad, Mr. Gardner CHOSE to be executed that way. If the criminal chose the means despite less painful options, then whether you consider a firing squad humane is irrelevant. It was his choice, and it's a somewhat free-ish country.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (2, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633664)

How on Earth is this a good thing?

Tweeting something like this puts it on the same level as the idiot twittering "I just took a huge crap LOL WTF!!111oneone!"... it's NOT appropriate.

Re:An all time low? I disagree (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633700)

Tweeting something like this puts it on the same level as the idiot twittering "I just took a huge crap LOL WTF!!111oneone!"... it's NOT appropriate.

Obligatory Penny Arcade Twitter Shitter [penny-arcade.com] comic.

Attention Title (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633372)

Generic outrage.

What a scumbag! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633376)

Enough said...

Nice editorializing (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633404)

Tweeting a legal and properly appealed capital conviction is the "all-time low for internet use", but I suppose that using the internet to distribute Jihad snuff films like Daniel Pearl or using the internet to recruit racial and religious hate is just fine.

Re:Nice editorializing (3, Insightful)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633522)

When you have a radical, religious, fascist fanatic writing blogs all over the Internet, you do not expect him to show some decency. From the AG of the great democracy, USA, I expect a bit more. That is why I wrote "all-time low". Not because it's the worst we've seen, but because I still believe that the taking of someone's life, no matter your stance on capital punishment, deserves a bit more than 140 characters in Twitter.

Re:Nice editorializing (0)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633572)

From the AG of the great democracy, USA, I expect a bit more

A) The United States is not a democracy, it's a Republic.
B) This man isn't the AG of the United States, he's the AG of one of it's member states.

but because I still believe that the taking of someone's life, no matter your stance on capital punishment, deserves a bit more than 140 characters in Twitter

Why? What else is there to say? The man was sentenced to death and that sentence was carried out at 12:01AM.

Re:Nice editorializing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633584)

Did you see the shit this guy did? He was not a human being. He looked like one, sure, but he was most certainly not one.

Re:Nice editorializing (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633592)

The Attorney General who posted this is not " AG of the great democracy, USA", but the Attorney General of the State of Utah.

Utah is not the United States of America. If you don't know the difference between Utah (or one of the other 49 states and numerous territories, Tribal Governments and possessions) then you shouldn't be editorializing.

The AG of the United States is Eric Holder.

Re:Nice editorializing (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633618)

From the AG of the great democracy, USA, I expect a bit more.

He's the AG of the State of Utah, [wikipedia.org] not the USA.

That is why I wrote "all-time low". Not because it's the worst we've seen, but because I still believe that the taking of someone's life, no matter your stance on capital punishment, deserves a bit more than 140 characters in Twitter.

"He's dead, Jim." Only 15 characters. I conserved almost 90% of my available bandwidth! WooHoo!

Re:Nice editorializing (5, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633694)

I still believe that the taking of someone's life, no matter your stance on capital punishment, deserves a bit more than 140 characters in Twitter.

Why? I mean, I'm against capital punishment (not to argue the propriety of it, but so that you know which side I'm coming from when I say this), and I have to ask why? I mean, one, it was simply a due notification of a previously established sentence being carried out. It wasn't announcing that he was officially sentenced. It wasn't a eulogy for the man. It wasn't even announcing that he was dead. And lastly, it's not like this is the sole coverage the event will receive. Not every communique needs to be a grand pronouncement, even if it relates to a human life.

If it had been a tweet saying "RLG now dead. RIP." You might have a case. But it wasn't. Sorry, but it was a hyperbolic statement, and not at all warranted.

Dignity. (2, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633406)

Live a decent life, maybe you can die with dignity. Murder people, and someone may tweet your death. What's the problem?

Re:Dignity. (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633438)

There's more dignity in being shot than there is in the needle, IMHO anyway. Particularly if you believe the criticism of lethal injection that suggests the anesthetic wears off before the condemned man is killed -- then the poor bastard wakes up to a paralyzed diaphragm and suffocates to death while awake.

If I had to pick between the two it wouldn't even be a hard call.

Re:Dignity. (5, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633506)

Me either. I don't understand why the general public seems to prefer lethal injection to hanging or firing squad as a method, given that the latter two are far, far more dignified. With lethal injection we have things like a condemned man being strapped to a gurney for hours as the personnel search for the correct vein, frequently with very painful results. With a properly-conducted hanging or firing squad, it's quick, relatively painless, dignified, and ends fast.

Re:Dignity. (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633556)

Hanging has more potential for error than the firing squad but I would still take it over lethal injection. If it breaks you neck then it's quite humane -- if it doesn't then it's a rather lousy way to exit the world. Of course the same could be said for the firing squad if the marksmen screw up but the odds of four men all missing the kill zone with rifles at 30 feet (or whatever laughably short distance is used) is pretty low.

Re:Dignity. (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633674)

Of course the same could be said for the firing squad if the marksmen screw up but the odds of four men all missing the kill zone with rifles at 30 feet (or whatever laughably short distance is used) is pretty low.

Even in that case, reloading the rifles and trying again won't take hours.

Re:Dignity. (4, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633676)

Indeed, hanging is actually very tricky.

Set the drop to be too short, and they guy's neck doesn't break and you have to wait 15 minutes while he chokes to death - not pretty.

Set the drop too long and the head pops off. Better for the guy dieing, as he doesn't suffer nearly as long (a couple minutes until brain death, but as the spine is severed he likely feels nothing). However that's not exactly a dignified death.

If you don't mind popping heads off, why not go back to the guillotine? If well built it's flawless, and far, far cheaper than injection.

All capital punishment is hard on the executioner. You basically have to be some level of sociopath not to be affected by it, which, incidentally, is probably a good use for sociopaths.

If I were to die, I'd want it to be by firing squad - that's just awesome (though really hard on the executioners).

Re:Dignity. (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633710)

Not to mention that a handful of bullets are a whole lot cheaper than a concoction of deadly chemicals and the personnel to administer them! It's saving tax payer dollars, everybody should be for firing squads!

Re:Dignity. (2, Insightful)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633462)

whether you agree with capital punishment or not, you have to agree that the state should not take its power to kill its own citizens very lightly. even if those citizens are scumbags.

Re:Dignity. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633480)

The state doesn't really have that power since SCOTUS ruled that only a jury can impose the death penalty.

Re:Dignity. (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633632)

That's ridiculous. Who do you think is pulling the trigger, jurors? Besides, the state runs the system by which the jurors are selected, including dismissing prospective jurors summarily if their conscience wouldn't allow them to recommend execution, and then it decides which evidence the jurors are allowed to hear.

Re:Dignity. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633696)

It also dismisses prospective jurors if their bias would tilt against the defendant, so I really don't see what the problem is. The fact remains that the state can't deprive you of liberty unless you can convince 12 of your fellow citizens of the righteousness of doing so. It's not a perfect system but I'll take it over the competing systems that vest the power to decide your fate entirely in the hands of a bureaucrat (Judge) working for the state.

Re:Dignity. (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633782)

I'm not disagreeing with you on the general merits of trial by jury. I'm disagreeing that just because the state involves a jury at one stage of the process means that the state is no longer responsible for the execution that follows.

Re:Dignity. (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633688)

The state doesn't really have that power since SCOTUS ruled that only a jury can impose the death penalty.

Your splitting hairs. The state asks the jury to impose it, then spends much effort convincing them to impose it, then once its imposed actually conducts it.

Or by analogy, I don't have the power to kill people. My fish does. I ask my fish to issue the kill order... if it hides under the rock I don't kill. If it comes out I do. (Oh, I forgot to mention I put fish food in the tank when I want someone dead...)

Re:Dignity. (2, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633504)

I do agree they should take it very seriously, but his death was a done deal. It was decided, and he had exhausted his (too many) options to appeal it already. So this was not something that makes me think the State was not applying due diligence.

Besides, there's nothing really undignified about what happened as I think about it. Tweeting just seems undignified because it's "new media". When I think of it objectively I see nothing any more demeaning in it than if he had said it in a newspaper interview or on TV. His words weren't cruel or gloating in themselves, just judgmental. But then...the guy had murdered someone - I'd be judgmental too.

Re:Dignity. (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633574)

it isn't about due diligence, it's about the state taking the proper respect for what should be considered an awesome power.

having the privilege of killing your own citizens is a big deal to me. it should be applied by serious and sober men in power, people who understand the scope of what they're doing.

tweeting it just makes it seem like a joke to these guys. all too often the state takes it lightly and hides behind the fact that the accused is a scumbag (like bush with karla faye tucker).

this should be worrisome. of all the things government reserves the right to do, taking its citizens' lives should be about the most sobering.

Re:Dignity. (1)

dwillden (521345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633684)

His tweet didn't make a joke or make light of the situation. It was a somber and concise statement of fact. Making a joke would have been something like: "LOL, Told em ta shoot da bastard. Good riddance, nine more to go. ROFLMAO at Gardner burning in Hell!!!" (Nine being the current remaining population of Utah's Death Row.)

Instead he simply stated the facts of a rather significant duty of his job, without mocking and with a prayer for mercy above for the executed. The real travesty/scandal is that it took 25 years to execute this guy who killed in broad daylight. The last murder he did was nearly caught on camera, but it still took 25 years. I'm all for being careful and serving due diligence in making sure we don't execute the wrong person, but this is way too long.

Re:Dignity. (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633708)

I'm not sure I understand the sentiment that somehow the Internet is different than print media when reporting events.

Putting it on Twitter is not like making a comic strip out of the event and joking about it. It's just another form of communication.

Re:Dignity. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633494)

Dignity is not a privilege. It is an inviolable right of a human being.

Re:Dignity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633534)

>Dignity is not a privilege. It is an inviolable right of a human being.
And yet, nature violates that all the time. Maybe you should file a complaint with her. HAHA

Re:Dignity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633602)

Dignity is never assured, quite the opposite. When we die, often we make quite a mess. It is up to other living humans to clean us up and give us our dignity back. This is just one example.

Re:Dignity. (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633722)

And yet this guy showed you himself what he thinks about dignity. Ask his victims (plural)

Oh, wait.....They're dead.

Re:Dignity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633734)

Citation needed please? And please include Supreme Court rulings stating that TSA feel-ups are somehow not a total theft of dignity.

Re:Dignity. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633678)

Many would say a society is best judged by how they treat those that they feel are lesser than they are.

Re:Dignity. (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633802)

Problem is that, as every other civilized country agrees, killing criminals is wrong and barbaric.

My uncles fought in World War II, and their satisfaction at seeing Nazi officers hanged made an impression on me. I might accept executions if I were sure that (1) The people who were executed actually were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and (2) Everybody who committed the same crime got the same punishment. I'm convinced that will never happen in America.

My quick argument against capital punishment is

(1) Innocent people have been executed, most irrefutably people who have been executed on the basis of now-discredited forensic evidence, particularly parents who have been executed for killing their children with arson on the basis of "accelerant" theories, and for murder on the basis of bite-mark matching.

A father comes home, sees his house in flames, his children dead in a fire. Then the district attorney prosecutes him for murdering his children with an arson fire, and executes an innocent man. It's not enough that his children die, you have to blame him and execute him too. It happened repeatedly. Does that disturb your sense of justice?

(2) A millionaire has never been executed in the U.S.

First things first... (1)

newtown1100 (1415771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633414)

quick! Get this guy a talk show deal!

Gary Gilmore 2.0: "Let's Tweet It!" (2, Funny)

theodp (442580) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633450)

Any Last Words? [about.com]

Not an "all time low" (5, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633466)

There are many lows on the internet and this doesn't come close. The prosecution in this case chose to pursue the death penalty in light of the crime committed, the jury found him guilty and found the death penalty appropriate. The AG is doing his job, and while this might seem sensationalistic, I'd rather the officials in my particular state be as open as possible using all available avenues of communication, although I personally do not use twitter.

The primary reason this case is so sensational is that he was killed by a firing squad. Remember that he chose that particular method, not the state.

Re:Not an "all time low" (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633744)

I actually support the idea of using Twitter or other free media outlets for reporting things.

I hear people complaining about it like somehow it's more appropriate to force someone to pay for a newspaper or watch commercials to read this information.

For the record (5, Informative)

aitikin (909209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633470)

Firing squad is deemed inhumane in 49 out of 50 states, the exception being Oklahoma, where it is used solely as a backup, should lethal injection or electrocution fail or become unconstitutional. Utah allows firing squads only in cases where the prisoner had chose it before it became unconstitutional. Therefore, Gardner, having been on death row for 20 some odd years, had chose death by firing squad before it was deemed inhumane.

I realize this is OT, but it really struck me as odd that Utah was still doing a death by firing squad. Interestingly enough, Washington State still allows prisoners the choice of their method of execution between death by hanging and death by lethal injection.

Re:For the record (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633538)

Firing squad is deemed inhumane in 49 out of 50 states

It hasn't been deemed "inhumane", it just isn't used in those states. Having seen my share of animals that were shot and a handful that were "put to sleep" I would actually argue that being shot is more humane. The ones that were put to sleep seemingly just closed their eyes -- but who knows what really happens? At least with humans, there's a school of thought that suggests the anesthetic used wears off quickly and leaves the condemned man awake but with a paralyzed diaphragm. If this is true you are suffocating to death while awake.

Contrast that to being shot. A well placed rifle bullet will kill you before you hit the ground. No need to sit and watch as they try to find a vein. No danger of them missing a vein and setting your arm on fire with muscular injections of the drug cocktail.

There really isn't any pretty way to end a life but of the available methods that our technology allows I would argue that being shot is the most humane. If the shooters do their job right you will be dead in seconds.

Re:For the record (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633636)

There really isn't any pretty way to end a life but of the available methods that our technology allows I would argue that being shot is the most humane. If the shooters do their job right you will be dead in seconds.

Except there's some evidence to suggest that the rifle shots are seldom that well placed. Quite often, what used to happen was the man leading the firing squad checked the victim, found him still breathing and shot him in the head.

(It's a bit difficult to find evidence for this right now - Google's efficiency at keeping their search engine results is working against me as most searches involving the term "firing squad" bring up stories related to this particular execution - but knowing how fantastically good /.'ers are at finding evidence for a particular POV, I have no doubt that someone with more knowledge will reply....)

Re:For the record (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633662)

I'd mod this up if I could. I agree with this completely. I think if you're going to go for capital punishment then their method of death should be their final choice. THAT is humane, imo. If they get a choice of last meal, giving them their method of death shouldn't be a far cry from that.

drug cocktail? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633682)

Not a troll, just curious why this is so hard?

For example, the whole propfol thing with the death of that pop singer last year seems to have turned up all kinds of info on how that drug is abused... so a) it is not unpleasant, b) can kill you if you overdose.

Seems to me a perfectly humane death sentence prescription, no?

Re:For the record (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633718)

There really isn't any pretty way to end a life but of the available methods that our technology allows I would argue that being shot is the most humane. If the shooters do their job right you will be dead in seconds.

What about behading? You're instantly dead and there is no chance of missing right spot.

Re:For the record (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633756)

The real problem with firing squads and other methods compared to injection is how hard it is on the executioners not the prisoners. A firing squad is a very humane way to kill a murderer, as you noted. However, each member of the firing squad knows he killed the man himself (or at least, he definitely contributed). They try to work around that by making one round a blank. The marksmen know one round is a blank, but they don't know which. This allows them to rationalize that it may not have been their bullet. This simply introduces uncertainty though, because they know they have 4:1 odds that their bullet is real.

With lethal injection, everyone has a complete rationalization that they did not kill the man. The nurse who inserts the needle didn't throw the switch or fill the poison vials, so obviously they didn't kill him. The man who filled the vials didn't throw the switch or insert the needle, so obviously they didn't kill him. The switch is on a timer, so nobody actually physically threw the switch, and the guy who set the timer was simply setting a timer, he was in no way involved in filling the vials or inserting the needle or giving the orders to kill the man.

Everyone knows they were involved, but they each only share a small fraction of the responsibility, and alone none of their actions killed anyone. This gives them deniability, and allows their consciences to remain clean.

That is why lethal injection is popular. There are other more humane ways to kill, but it's "humane enough" and allows deniability for all involved.

Re:For the record (2, Interesting)

Percy_Blakeney (542178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633778)

Ronnie Lee Gardner didn't die "before he hit the ground" [ksl.com] , and the shots were very accurate. From the linked eyewirness account:

Some 30 seconds later, and without warning, a loud "ba-BOOM" repeats through the chamber. The target is hit in what appears to be four places: two shots hitting very near the bulls-eye in the middle; another bullet within the first circle but lower and to the right. The fourth hits the target in the lower left corner, outside both the circle and the bulls-eye.

Gardner still moves. From the witness area to the left of his body, his left thumb is still tracing a circular pattern. His left arm then clenches, slowly raises up a couple of inches, straining against the straps binding him, then back down. Then up. Then down....

He still moves. It seems to last a long time, but we later learn it was only about a minute and a half.

I'm not arguing it wasn't comparatively humane, but he didn't die within seconds.

Re:For the record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633582)

Utah allows firing squads only in cases where the prisoner had chose it before it became unconstitutional.

It has not been deemed unconstitutional (on any level, state or federal), only the law was changed by the legislature.

Re:For the record (1)

ThoughtMonster (1602047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633706)

Shooting people makes a mess, who's going to clean that up? Not to mention the sight of a person's exploded skull.

Re:For the record (1)

Percy_Blakeney (542178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633826)

They aim for the heart, not the head.

Re:For the record (1)

r0ach (106945) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633816)

As I said in a previous post, the convicted CHOSE this method of execution from all available options. Period.

Re:For the record (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633842)

I realize this is OT, but it really struck me as odd that Utah was still doing a death by firing squad.

Google the Mormon doctrine of "blood atonement" and all will become clear.

rj

What's wrong (-1, Troll)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633500)

With an 8ft rope and an oak tree? Ronnie Lee Gardner was a worthless piece of shit and the world is a better place without him. Frankly, I think he should have been strung up publicly at noon.......with free ice cold Coca-Colas.

Re:What's wrong (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633642)

With an 8ft rope and an oak tree? Ronnie Lee Gardner was a worthless piece of shit and the world is a better place without him. Frankly, I think he should have been strung up publicly at noon.......with free ice cold Coca-Colas.

I can't tell if you're being a troll, a classless buffoon, or a shill for Coca-Cola. Tricky decision.

What was left out (0)

tresho (1000127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633514)

Who was/were the victim(s) of this convicted murderer anyway? Buehler? Anyone? Not that they matter one bit.

Re:What was left out (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633760)

I'm guessing you missed the part in the summary where it said "Ronnie Lee Gardner". He was a mass-murderer.

Re:What was left out (1)

dwillden (521345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633820)

Off the top of my head, I don't recall the first person (I could look it up, but I'm lazy), but the one that he got the penalty for was a sheriffs deputy he killed while trying to escape from the courthouse while at trial for the first murder.

He also severely wounded another guard or court worker who died a few years ago due to complications of his wounds.

Wow, what a coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633530)

What a ballsy way to openly admit that you want to murder someone.

It's not that bad... maybe... (3, Insightful)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633558)

Well, at least he didn't order the execution through twitter. Just imagine if that account got comprised, or any account involved in stupid shit like that.

Re:It's not that bad... maybe... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633766)

Tell me about it. Just last week I tweeted an order to vaporize planet Vulkar, but the idiots vaporized Vultar.

- Zorlam The Great, from the Meztar system

I love religious hypocracy. (5, Insightful)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633598)

May God grant him mercy...because we certainly won't.

Re:I love religious hypocracy. (1)

nycguy (892403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633666)

If this governor had let his pansy religion get in the way of pulling the trigger on this murderer, he should have been impeached and perhaps executed himself. Whatever nonsense he chooses to think about non-existent gods and their "mercy" is his business. It's not hypocrisy; it's blind stupidity.

Re:I love religious hypocracy. (0, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633790)

Obvious question. Why would people grant him mercy when they've shown none to their victims? RoI vs RoS thanks. I prefer it being on the RoS.

"Why do they hate us?" (1, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633638)

And Americans wonder why the rest of the civilized world looks at them and shakes their head in disbelief.

THE GOVERNOR TWEETS AN EXECUTION HE ORDERED.

I don't know what's more appalling, that he did it, or that no-one seems terribly surprised.

Re:"Why do they hate us?" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633702)

Actually it was the Attorney General, not the Governor. And the rest of the world wonders why we think they're ignorant. They don't even bother to refer to the person who actually issued the tweet, and instead refer to the head of state for Utah.

Re:"Why do they hate us?" (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633840)

Sorry - most of the world doesn't elect judges, or dog-catchers for that matter, so sometimes are not up on the fine points of American jurisprudence.

Re:"Why do they hate us?" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633714)

why does it even matter? convicted of heinous crimes and he gets executed. I see nothing wrong here.

Did they Tweet what he got for his last meal? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633644)

Did they Tweet what he got for his last meal?

Not enough exposure. (5, Insightful)

Known Nutter (988758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633646)

Executions should be televised.

And don't forget, the polls show the American people want capital punishment, and they want a balanced budget. And I think even in a fake democracy, people ought to get what they want once in a while. Just to feed this illusion that they're really in charge. Let's use capital punishment the same way we use sports and television in this country, to distract people and take their minds off how bad they're being fucked by the upper one percent. Now, unfortunately, unfortunately Monday Night Football doesn't last long enough. What we really need is year-round capital punishment on TV every night with sponsors. Gotta have sponsors. I'm sure as long as we're killing people Marlboro Cigarettes and Dow Chemical would be proud to participate! Proud to participate! Balance the stupid fucking budget!!

And- and let me say this to you my interesting judaeo-christian friends. Not only- not only do I recommend crucifixions, I'd be in favor of bringing back beheadings!! Huh? Beheadings on TV, slow-motion, instant replay? And maybe you could let the heads roll down a little hill. And fall into one of five numbered holes. Let the people at home gamble on which hole the head is going to fall into. And you do it in a stadium so the mob can gamble on it too. Raise a little more money. And if you want to expand the violence a little longer to sell a few more commercials, instead of using an axe, you do the beheadings with a hand saw! Hey, don't bail out on me now, God damnit! The blood is already on our hands, all we're talking about is a matter of degree. You want something a little more delicate, we'll do the beheadings with an olive fork. That would be nice. And it would take a good God damn long time. There's a lot of good things we could be doing.

--George Carlin

Details... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633652)

He didnt tweet the execution order, ie tell them to do it.
He tweeted about his approval of the actions taken.

IE, an opinion.

It wasn't enough (2, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633658)

Tweeting about it wasn't enough. The damned thing should have been broadcast live.

The asshole being executed was shown *far* more mercy than he showed his victims.

It's just documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32633786)

I don't get it. It's a document of what happened. Either the original intent of the execution is awful or it's not, but tweeting it by itself doesn't make it so. It must be an important event to be publicized in such a way. Was it meant to demean anyone?

"Haha" as a tag? (4, Funny)

yourpusher (161612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633794)

What a fine bunch of people you are.

Gangster (1)

chucklebutte (921447) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633830)

This guy went down like a real G. Firing squad? Really? I'ma pussy give me the needle.

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