Utah Firing Squad Tweet Ignites Controversy

     Today, Utah found itself in the international spotlight after the Attorney General tweeted about the nation's first execution by firing squad in 14 years.  Convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner was sentenced to death following a fatal 1985 shooting that occurred after a failed escape from a courthouse in Salt Lake City.  At the time, he was facing a murder charge for the shooting of a bartender a year earlier.

     Prior to the execution, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff took to his Twitter account, posting, "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," and later, "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."

     Shurtleff's postings have generated a global debate about not only the ethics of capital punishment, but what is appropriate to post on social media sites.

     A Twitter user in Cario with the screen name diptychal posted a popular comment, saying, "@MarkShurtleff’s tweet will probably go down in history as the dumbest most disgusting use of Twitter ever."

      Shurtleff stood by his remarks.  "I believe in an informed public. As elected official I use social media to communicate directly with people," he posted on Twitter.

     Some commentators didn't necessarily state their support or disapproval of the death penalty, but voiced their feelings about using social media as a forum to publicly announce it.

     "I agree with your use of social media as way to inform the public, however, a play by play of this nature was out of line," posted another Twitter user, Thomas Stark.

      This isn't Shurtleff's first controversial post on Twitter.  In May, the Attorney General thought he was sending a private message discussing his intentions of running for Senate when he actually publicly publishing them.


Anonymous said...

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth! Is what I believe in and come on it is the new techonology era big deal if he posts that-It keeps us informed better then the past...

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