Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff last night used Twitter to announce the impending execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner. Shurtleff declared from his iPhone* ealier yesterday: "A solemn day. Barring a stay by Sup Ct, & with my final nod, Utah will use most extreme power & execute a killer. Mourn his victims. Justice" He later …
Utah no longer allows firing squad as a method of capital punishment. However, he had chosen that method of execution before it was removed as an option, and so was grandfathered in.
I'm not necessarily saying that a less gruesome method of execution makes everything OK - but just thought it's a noteworthy point in the affair.
he didn't choose firing squad before it was removed as an option, but he *was* sentenced to death before it was removed, so he was still allowed to choose it earlier this year.
With such dignity ...
... has the execution been carried out, that all those involved are to be given commemorative coins.
And no, that's not satire:
A black metal chair? Is that something to do with Gorgoroth?
Still partial to the guillotine
I honestly don't think there's a better way, if you decide that you have to do it, that is.
I'm loving the "Make it happen today" advert that appeared alongside the article.
I never understand why anyone would allow someone like Shurtleff to represent them at any level. There's always going to be a serious conflict of interest between state business and religious doctrine.
Not that Shurtleff seems to particularly care about religious doctrine - Exodus 20:13.
Is about murder. Good luck convincing everyone who supports the death penalty that execution is murder.
Totally inappropriate and disrespectful
I hope this guy gets fired from his job - by Twitter.
The dumbening process continues
That's the key point to me - the use of Twitter - not the 'firing squad' angle. Surprised he didn't paste it on his Facebook wall too - "Just xcuted sum rednek mthafcka ! LOL !!!"
"May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims"?
I thought there was supposed to be a separation of church and state in the US?
God, church and state?
Dunno where you're coming from.
Even a lawyer can believe in God. What's the problem?
(OK, lawyers are more likely to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but that's another story).
This was Utah
I wonder if 'old age' was on the list of choices. Probably not, but given that he had been in prison since 1985, perhaps it should have been. Quite odd the whole death row thing - he had 25 years to reflect on his crimes, perhaps become rehabilitated, then they kill him. I suppose it kills two birds with one stone (sorry), i.e. makes it difficult to argue that didn't get chance to appeal and it also removes the 'easy way out' argument.
Difficult to understand
Five guys firing from 25ft away at a white target somebody stuck at his chest. Why couldn't just one guy shoot him point-blank in the head?
Would also have saved 4 commemorative coins...
But having said this - even this five to one method seems much more humane to me than the slow poisoning and piercing with needles which is the standard execution method in the States today. Are they saving bullets?
The reason for the 5 people and range
The reason for the 5 people and range is the same as the reason that one of the squad is issued a blank. None of them is sure that they fired the killing shot, and thus is much less likely to suffer psychologically from being a part of this.
they use 5 people to make absolutely sure he dies quickly. only 4 bullets, though. one officer has a blank loaded in his gun, but none of them know which has the blank - so they can all "assume" it was them if they have a problem with guilt (which is also why you don't make someone walk up to him and shoot him in the head).
I'll tell you why.
It's so no single member of the firing squad *knows* that it was he who fired the fatal shot. (For the same reason, sometimes blanks are mixed with real bullets, so that nobody knows if they actually have a functional shot or not.)
The idea is that none of the executioners can be sure that they killed him, for the state of their mental health. For the same reason, one of the guns (at random) is loaded with a blank, so each officer doesn't know if he's fired a real bullet or not.
I know, I know
But surely, it's the judge who kills the guy - he is the one to deal with the guilt because he knows he is not firing blanks when he delivers the sentence.
In Soviet Union when a death row inmate was informed that his final appeal failed he would be escorted down some corridors and will get a bullet in the back of his head at some random spot without warning. That's what I call a "humane killing"!
That 5-people affair is IMHO a misplaced sensitivity which achieves nothing. Yes, it originates from time when during wars firing squads were formed from regular soldiers and they were ordered to shoot, perhaps one of their own comrades who was hastily convicted of cowardice or being a spy etc. so the guilt issue was there. But civilian executions?
For centuries it used to be just one guy doing the job with his faced masked.
P.S. I am actually against death penalty as a principle, but if you decide to do it - do it properly, that's what I think.
I'd piss in fear every single time I'm escorted down a corridor...
Maybe the most humane way would be to slip them a sleeping pill, then execute them in their sleep.
Like they didn't volunteer for the job. If they were "suffer psychologically" it was long before they signed up to do it. This wouldn't surprise me, however.
<so each officer doesn't know if he's fired a real bullet or not.>
If the're trained, and shoot/practice a lot, the gun's recoil would give the marksman a clue, if he fired wax, rather than lead.
Oh, and "the state of their mental health" confuses me. Why, unless they were a bit 'odd', would anyone volunteer for the job?
(Dunno why Moderator didn't accept my last post, but - oddly - seems every full moon I get turfed out.)
He killed a lawyer.
Doesn't that offset the original crime?
Dick the Butcher would agree
"* Need to kill someone strapped to a chair? There's an app for that."
*wipes a tear*
*ahem* Okay, this is serious people!
Death is no joke
I thought the article was a well written piece, sensitively dealing with a solemn story which had an IT angle.
Then you just *had* to go and add that bootnote.
I'm not new here, and I'm well aware of the style of writing on El Reg, but I think you stepped over the line of taste here.
Death is no joke
May I respectfully refer the Honourable Gentleman to "Monty Python's Life of Brian"?
I think, particularly the last scene might change the Honourable Gent's mind.
What a twisted reasoning for killing a human...
While it's already somewhat hard to understand that somebody in difficult circumstances desires to kill another human, it's really, really hard to follow some supposedly "exalted" person who commands an unneeded killing of any other human... And aren't people who are wishing for years for the death of another person even more entitled to be defined as "evil"?
It makes them no better, And yes EVIL.
It makes them killers too. No better than who they are killing.
Fail, because these "death penalty" lovers are a failure. When will we ever wake up?
Counting backwards in Utah
Reportedly: "5, 4, 3..." BANG! "...2, ..." BANG! POP! BANG! "...1, ..." BANG! "..ah, fire!"
Kind of ironic
So they kept him locked up for 25 years (that can't have been cheap or much fun), them executed him? Worst of both worlds I'd say.
hmm mormons love guns
Utah is about as pro law enforcement pro gun area to be found in the first world. I am sure those who did the execution will feel about as guilty as the pilot of the Enola Gay did about dropping the first nuke (contrary to urban myth he not only didn't feel guilty but felt a bit of pride of ending the war). For the record also the greatest gun smith inventor in history John Browning (think Browning machine gun) was also mormon.
"It has been done with absolute dignity and reverence for human life."
Sat on a chair, hooded, wearing a target. Yes, that's dignity for you.
Execution. Yes, that's reverence for human life.
The guy might have been a real scumbag (can't be bothered to Google, but given a death penalty it's probably pretty obvious...), that isn't what I am against. I'm against the prick, that having just gone through the process of executing a person by firing squad AND having a fancy little coin issued to commemorate the occasion, trots out a line such as that quoted in the title. Just STFU and say something practical like, "it's done".
given a death penalty it's probably pretty obvious
The lawyers have argued that a case of meningitis at the age of four may have caused Gardner considerable brain damage, debilitating his capacity for empathy and impulse control. He was also sexually abused, used drugs between the ages of six and 11 and had a troubled childhood, with two parents who were both alcoholics and physically abusive.
Wasn't the reason for the "Winchester house"* because the widow of the inventor of the Winchester rifle believed that by building the house constantly, adding rooms, chandeiers, etc. she could somehow atone for the deaths of those who had been killed by her late husband's invention - the Winchester Rifle?. Think it predates Browning.
(Definitely worth a visit. Spooky, at the minimum)
Quite a statement.
Although I'm totally against the death penalty, I sincerely found the following quite moving:
"Utah Department of Corrections director Thomas Patterson said: "This is an unusual task but one we have done professionally. It has been done with absolute dignity and reverence for human life.
"It's been a balancing act of being sensitive to the families who lost loved ones and the family who lost a loved one tonight."
Hats - or black caps - off to Mr. Patterson. Fair statement.
Makes me sick.
Law and Politics
He was a mission for the Church of the Latter Day Saints - you know the ones - the ones that collar you in the town's shopping centre, dressed very smartly and talk for an hour and won't let you go, then try to get you to go along to one of their meetings.
Gonna be very hard with such strong religious beliefs to keep that out of politics and not influence his judgements...gonna be very hard.
5 bullet thing
4 bullets and 1 blank. So all the shooters can go away knowing that probably their bullet *did* kill him (unless they're a useless marksman). Chance of the marksman being the one that killed him? 4 out of 5.
Ok, the marksman can walk away with some doubt as to whether he killed him, but would't it have been even better to load simply one live round and 4 blanks?
The guy still gets killed (unless the marksman's useless), but the probability of any individual marksman being the killer is reduced from 4/5 to 1/5, that is from being almost certain he was the killer to almost certain he wasn't.
Surely this is going to be better for the mental state of the marksman?
Or why not set up a gun using a stand, fixed aim, and automatically fired by a computer using a random time.
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