In 2010, we have the luxury of a technology like Twitter. We’ve seen it used to shamelessly advertise products, broadcast mundane life updates, and organize resistance to Iran’s “elections” (though reportedly, not to the extent that we’d thought). But we never thought we’d see this: Earlier today, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff tweeted Utah inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner‘s execution by firing squad. WTF?
Gardner, charged for a robbery and murder in 1984, was escorted into the old Salt Lake City courthouse on April 2nd of the next year. Suddenly, he was brandishing a gun that had been planted in the building by an accomplice and firing indiscriminately. Before he was subdued, an attorney had been killed and a guard wounded.
Sentenced to death in November 1985, Gardner has finally met his maker 25 years and multiple Supreme Court appeals later: He elected for the firing squad, a method open to him as he was convicted prior to Utah’s adoption of lethal injection in 2004, and was executed. Reportedly, he spent the last hours of his life watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy. When asked if he had any last words, he replied: “I do not. No.” Stone cold.
But the real morbid twist is Shurtleff’s not one, not two, but three tweets about Gardner’s execution. Let’s do a quick run down, shall we? Uno:
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
Of course, Shurtleff doesn’t forget to include “& with my final nod” – that’s right folks, let’s not forget who we’re really talking about here when we say “most extreme power.” And he didn’t even punctuate “Justice.”
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.
Again, “I just gave the go ahead.” We got that earlier, you gave the “final nod” remember? Too bad it’s not this Nod I’m talking about here.
And finally, the Big Three:
We will be streaming live my press conference as soon as I’m told Gardner is dead. Watch it at www.attorneygeneral.Utah.gov/live.html
I think we can conclude that Shurtleff is the master of self-promotion. If you didn’t notice, all his tweets were done over TwitBird iPhone. I’m sure TwitBird will enjoy a spike in downloads after this; hell, if you can run a state’s legal affairs, keep up to date on death and tweet at the same time, then it’s GOT to be an effective application. If Shurtleff’s in need of a job after his run as attorney general, he needn’t fret. New media marketers are sure to pick him up.
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