Friday, June 18, 2010

Ronnie finds out if there is a hell or not

Well, the death penalty has deterred another killer from killing again. Finally.

I don't claim that justice was done, since it took 25 years to execute him.

Now all that remains is to listen to the world condemn Utah for its barbarism. As for myself, I will think about his victims and their families, and hope for the day when more of these vicious animals are executed in a more timely fashion.

Ah, well; better late than never. He will no longer be a danger to his prison guards, and he has no chance to escape and kill again.

Odd that he chose to die by firing squad. I would rather that they had beheaded him with a Buck knife in front of the rest of his brother murderers on death row, but you can't have everything.

Rot in hell, Ronnie Lee Gardner.


  1. Always a tough question. How to do it? Because, anyone who'd saw his neck off with a buck-knife would almost certainly be just about as nasty as he was. So if you use them to kill one another, you're indulging the crazies in their blood-lust.
    I am all for the death penalty, just as I'm all for the idea that prisoners should be made to work and kept in unpleasant surroundings, chain-gang, humiliation etc.
    25 years then death?
    Why ever did they keep him around so long? Isn't it strange that we have courts to determine whether a person is guilty or not, judges to impose sentence, BUT we never trust them to do that?
    A prisoner such as this goes through appeal after appeal. Each appeal is effectively a bid to state that the law got it wrong, that the original court could not be trusted.
    Imagine that at a sports game.. the refereee/umpire sends someone off for a foul, they appeal, another umpire is brought on to scrutinise the original decision, he upholds it, another appeal. The new lawyer, appealing on behalf of the player who was sent off for punching an opposing player in the face, seen by hundreds of people, points out that the umpire's boot-laces are not of the regulation colour. Therefore the original sending off was void because the umpire was not properly dressed.
    The whole game thing would be unworkable. Lawyers, however, do that stuff all the time.

  2. @Soubriquet -

    Now then.

    Much of what you say is true.

    Let me try to extract your points, first.

    1. The prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment was a good thing to put into the American constitution.

    2. You think a lengthy appeals process makes a mockery of the intended system: it takes forever for play to resume on the field, and people don't get killed quickly enough; there comes a time when the umpires/judges/juries need to just get on with it.

    I admit I can't argue with any of that.

    My own thoughts:

    1. As to the horrifying method of execution, I was thinking more of giving the other murderers a mental keepsake to carry with them as their appeals progressed. But you are right about the vengeance versus retribution aspect.

    2. Oddly, I only favor the death penalty in circumstances that should not have required a trial at all. If the killer didn't murder his victims in public, in front of many witnesses - in front of the police, actually - then he or she shouldn't face the death penalty at all. No executions on circumstantial evidence only. In "qualifying" cases, though, they are often summarily executed by the police anyway, as their last bit of useless life plays out, but sometimes they surrender before justice is meted out, and sometimes they kill themselves first. So, mostly it is the cowards and the inept who end up being executed by the state. I think the average appeals time, to work it's way through the system with a taxpayer-paid attorney, is something like 19 years.

    The appeals process, then, becomes mostly just entertainment for the murderer, to give a spark of interest to his daily humdrum prison life.

    Since I feel that only the ones who should have been killed during the commission of their murders should face the death penalty, then you can see that it follows I don't think EVERYONE should be entitled to appeals. UnAmerican, I know.

  3. As always when I blog on this subject, it makes me think about my own values.

    More thoughts:

    There are many people in this world who don't believe in the death penalty under any circumstances. They say society simply doesn't have the right to take a human life under any circumstances. They hold midnight vigils on execution nights.

    Yet, if a person who has just killed 11 people in a mall or university in broad daylight, and, in the process, is killed by the police in the end, these same people sort of shrug their shoulders and go on with their lives. They don't condemn the police, or protest about the killing of the murderer(s). They don't seem to see the police as being "society". In the end, they DO think society has a right to protect themselves. With deadly force, if need be.

    On a more uncomfortable note (especially for unborn babies) these same people who believe in the sanctity of life, at least in the case of the murderer's life, don't think for a second about killing unborn babies. Yes, I know - it all depends on the things you tell yourself you believe in which justify the one and not the other. Sometimes in order to get around the obvious incongruity, one has to simply say that the one was not really a life, so it's ok if the "thing's" existence is inconvenient to its host.

    There was a time we used to think of babies as life, just as valuable as mass-murderers' lives.

    I'm just pushing for trouble today, aren't I?

  4. A long time ago, as new implements of putting killers to death were invented by society, it became fashionable to allow the convicted killer to choose his method of execution during the transition from one method to another. Times and methods, after all, can change greatly during a 20-year-long appeals process.

    Such was the case, I'm thinking, with the recent execution in Utah. One cannot choose to be executed by a firing squad in Utah anymore, or to be buried alive, or whatever, but you could back when this guy was convicted, so they made the goodwill gesture to allow him a bit of grandstanding. Actually, it was probably less painful than having caustic chemicals dripping into your vein. Who knows.

    But the concept of death by firing squad brings up another of my quirky thoughts that we can share with each other: why do they bother disguising executioners if they believe what they are doing is right and justified?

    In the case of a firing squad, they insert reasonable doubt in the minds of the executioners by putting blank bullets in one of the guns, so each executioner can have the mindset that he didn't really kill the guy.

    Why? Why would they bother to do that? They don't do that in China. They just have one guy shoot the condemned behind the ear with a pistol and then send a bill to the family for the bullet.

    We westerners are so caught up in our moral hangups. Since I believe in the death penalty, in specified cases, I don't see the purpose of this desire for anonymity.

  5. So, what they do is, they have identical guns for each member of the firing squad, and they are loaded by a person who is NOT on the squad. The person who loads the weapons knows, of course, which one has the blank bullet in it. (And here one wonders if they bother to load the magazine to capacity or if they just put one bullet in each gun. I mean, what if they all miss the poor bastard or the doc says he is still alive? What then? ) but, since the guns are picked up randomly by the members of the firing squad, and the loader doesn't see them choosing, he is off the hook too. Morally speaking. If this is moral.

    And so they shoot the guy. Someone has to say "fire", right? So how does HE get off the hook? I mean, they wouldn't shoot unless he said "fire", so he is the actual killer. And yet, the governor of Utah didn't pick up the phone and stay the execution, so HE is the real killer. No, wait. What about the jury?

    The point is, there is no point in trying to assuage the executioners' feelings. If the governor can live with upholding his oath of office, so can the squad.

  6. I agree with the execution and I live in Utah, so I got a lot of info on the matter—weather I wanted to or not.
    But yea, I agree with you…

  7. What if the governor chooses NOT to honor his oath of office and his promise to the people who live in his state?

    New Mexico had a peacenik governer by the name of Toney Anaya once. Actually, they have a lot of odd governors. This one stood with his hand on the Bible and took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the state of New Mexico. That constitution mandated the death penalty for certain killers. The majority of the people who lived in New Mexico, or their representatives, at least, put the words into that constitution.

    Yet, Toney's first act as governor was to commute the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.

    Is that a moral act? I mean, is it moral to swear to uphold the will of the people and then simply act on your own personal beliefs and disregard the law?

    One might argue that the majority of the people voted him into office and they knew very well what his personal beliefs were. But we all know only a small percentage of people vote. That isn't the point anyway: the question is if he should have honored his oath of office. After all, the argument works both ways -- he knew what was required of him but he still chose to run for governor.

    But New Mexico is a pretty laid back state. Live and let live, so to speak. There were some grumblings for a while (not from the death row inmates) but then people got back to the business of raising hotter green chile and soon forgot about the uproar in Santa Fe.

  8. @Jeff King - Yes, I suppose you got overexposed to all the hoopla and are just glad to see it over and done with. Speaking of Utah, I was reading about executions last night and came across this Wikipedia article on the Green Valley Massacre in 1857. Have you ever heard of it? An interesting subject to write about. Kinda gruesome though.

  9. Good points, Max, when the bad guy is shot whilst committing his evil deeds, we just say "He got what was coming to him".
    You can bet though, here certainly, maybe a little less so in your part of the world, there's a huge enquiry, the officers involved are suspended from active duty, and all too often, the guys family go on a witch-hunt calling the cops murderers.

    My opinion? If you go out armed, to commit a crime, threaten somebody's life, whether with a gun, a knife, a broken bottle... your hands, then you should be deemed to have voluntarily put yourself outside of the protection of the law. Don't expect those laws you don't see any need to respect and obey, to then be your shield and protection.

    Why, when the crime is multiply witnessed, there's no doubt whatsoever, do we still have to refer to the criminal as "the alleged perpetrator, the suspect, etc...?"

  10. I'm confused. You only favor the death penalty in public murders. Is it because you want people to be killed for the crime of being too stupid to hide their crime better or because you think a public sniping is somehow more heinous than the scumbag who kills for pleasure in the dark of night.

    I can't say I'm with you there.

    As for abortion, it has a great deal to do with how you see the start of life. I understand perfectly well why those who oppose abortion feel as they do. The question is, do they have the right to take away decisions from people who see things differently?

    Why should the belief system of any one group be imposed on everyone?



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