Firing Squad Execution Announced On Twitter

The uses of Twitter grow exponentially every day but today saw a new developement. Utah’s Attorney General made tweets announcing and immediately following the execution of a man convicted for murder. Thanks to tech.blorge.com for the following article:

by Michael W. Jones, tech.blorge.com

In a glaring example of anachronism closely coupled to the latest (relatively speaking) technology, the Attorney General of Utah used Twitter to keep his fans updated on the state’s execution by firing squad.

Mark Shurtleff, the attorney general of the state of Utah in the United States, has more than 7,000 followers on Twitter. They were the audience as Shurtleff used the social networking services as communication central for ongoing announcements on the day of the execution by firing squad of Ronnie Lee Gardner, who was convicted of the murder of an attorney during an attempted escape from a courthouse, according to a CNET story. Here are some of his tweets related to that occasion, and one that came just after:

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

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.

I believe in an informed public. As elected official I use social media to communicate directly with people.

WARNING! This page informs on real world of crime and punishment. ‘If u can’t stand the TWEET, get out of the TWITCHEN’ Harry Truman #utpol

Although there are mixed opinions on the subject of executions, an execution by firing squad in 2010 insured a great deal of opposition to Shurtleff’s special event. Sitting a man in a chair, pinning a target to his chest, putting a hood over his head, and then shooting him dead is not something that happens every day, so the event was certainly newsworthy. Still, the use of Twitter for official announcements of such an event, even in Utah, must seem a bit surreal to many people there and across the world, and Shurtleff’s relish in his role, obvious in his words, make it even more so.

State-sponsored death in 140 characters or less.


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