Twitter Execution Announcement. Taking Micro-Blogging Too Far?

Twitter Execution Message - Utah

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.

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Here’s a screenshot of the last tweet he sent before the execution:

Twitter Execution Message - Utah

Even the grammar is condensed for the purpose of space…pathetic.

View Comments (7)
  • IMHO this was a an inappropriate announcement to make via Twitter. However, given the other inappropriate stuff I have seen blurted on Twitter it probably won’t be the last time we see this behavior. SIGH …

  • “Even the grammar is condensed for the purpose of space…pathetic.”

    Wait, so you mean somebody on twitter, condensed their grammar to try to fit more words into a tweet? Come on man, you may be letting your passion for the topic get the best of you, you can do better. In free speech you don’t get to censor out the messages you don’t like, you can criticize them all you like, but you may look silly in doing so.

  • Trace, what’s wrong for criticizing someone for condensing a message and trivializing the topic. Killing someone, regardless of the standards of law in an area does not mean you should throw out a quick message about it without context.

  • Also Trace, I didn’t try to sensor their message. My point, as stated is that they took a message which practically begs for more disclosure and then condensed it for the sake of getting their own message out. But hey…it’s almost election time, gotta tell the masses you killed the bad guy ;)

  • I personally beleive that although we happily live in a world of mostly free speech , there are some things better left off blogs or twitter. There’s always the un-follow button of course.

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