Why Wasn't Ronnie Lee Gardner Allowed To Tweet?

A lot of controversy has been cyber-ventilating the collective blogo-and-twitterspheres today as the result of Utah's attorney general need to provide a blow-by-blow lead-up to a firing squad execution via Twitter. Some have labeled it a "tweet too far."

At the onset Attorney General Mark Shurtleff tweeted the following pertaining to convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner's execution: "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.”

Just prior to the final moments of Gardner's life, Shurtleff shot off the following tweet:

Yes, Twitter's been used for a lot of things - announcing an execution will probably go down as another 'first' - but why the outrage? What did Shurtleff do in his 140 characters that was so far from the pale? Haven't we witnessed tweets that were used to cuss, lie, undermine, call out, defame, cheat, impersonate, libel, hate and a number of other distasteful human reactions too numerous to mention (and that's just the politicians)!  And for those that know that 'loose tweets sink fleets', why have some even tweeted about classified military information.

Twitter is what it is. Why would you give someone a soapbox, and then choose to pull it out from under when you don't like what they are saying. As long as they're abiding by the terms of the conditions that have been set down by the microblogging platform, they have the right to say whatever they want.

What I find more disconcerting than Shurtleff's tweets is why Gardner wasn't given the same option? Those sentenced to death are always allowed to deliver their last words. Perhaps if we had heard Gardner's last tweet, there would have been less controversy regarding the attorney general's final say on the subject.

Jun 19, 2010
by Anonymous


Mark Shurtleff is very unethical. A cold, callous individual who kind of reminds me of Pontious Pilate. He should never make governor with such an arrogant attitude and to say that it is a good day when someone is going to die shows the character of this man.

Jun 19, 2010
by Anonymous

Mark Shurtleff

Now, Ronnie has paid his crimes in full, 25 years locked up and now he has paid with his life. He could have never got a fair commutation hearing since you are the attorney for the board of pardons, conflict of interests, you think? Hopefully, Karma does not catch up with you and knowing Ronnie the way I do, if he could haunt anyone it would be you.

Jun 19, 2010
by Anonymous

Ronnie Lee Gardner

Ronnie had no last words because he had already told those of us that he loved what he needed to tell us. He had apologized to the families and so why satisfy the state of Utah. Ronnie Lee wouldn't have treated nothing negative if he could have. He was a murderer but not arroogant like Shurtleff.