Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced the go ahead to kill Ronnie Lee Gardner today.
Lee, who was on death row, was killed by firing squad and while it’s standard practice to announce the death approval of a death row inmate, the way Shurtleff handed it isn’t…he tweeted the announcement.
Shurtleff’s sent two tweets which read:
“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.” While earlier in the day he tweeted: “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.”
140 characters to announce the death of another person didn’t sit well with Twitter users. Mashable reported the following angry responses (among many):
A Twitter user named diptychal tweeted: “@MarkShurtleff’s tweet will probably go down in history as the dumbest most disgusting use of Twitter ever.” Another user, named drhonk, simply tweeted: “What a way to announce someone’s execution … twitter .. geez.”
Yes I understand Twitter is a mode of communication, but regardless of what another person did, there’s a context that’s lacking in a 140 character message and it takes away accountability for allowing such deaths to move forward, if anything it makes Shurtleff a coward for not properly confronting those who are against the death penalty, while as diptychal said, using Twitter for one of the dumbest reasons to date.
Here’s a screenshot of the last tweet he sent before the execution:
Even the grammar is condensed for the purpose of space…pathetic.