Thursday, June 17, 2010

Utah Execution is a Barbaric and Cowardly Act


Draper, UT—I visited the prison here several years ago on an adoption matter. It’s a clean appearing seemingly well run institution for men that have done vile and horrible things. Many are dangerous career criminals housed there that should never be set free until they’re too old to hurt anyone.

After midnight tonight Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49 is going to be escorted to and strapped into a chair and five men will fire .30 Caliber Winchester rifles at a small target on his chest.

Gardner’s crime was a despicable act. He was convicted of capital murder 25 years ago for the 1985 fatal courthouse shooting of attorney Michael Burdell during an escape attempt. He was desperate and 24 years-old back then.

It’s disturbing to me that an entire quarter of a century has passed. That much time would change anyone. There is no evidence since that mad act that indicates he’d re-offend or not find a peaceful way to somehow serve society even if it was behind bars. Killing Gardner now is almost like killing Peter for Paul’s crime.

Gardner made quite an exhaustive appeal to the pardon board. It served no purpose and was a total waste of breath.

Gardner can’t be blamed for the 25 year appeal process since he did not create it. I can’t help but to believe that the freakish delay and half of Gardner’s life was spent dreading his own killing at the hands of the government. At some point this should qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.

Gardner sat on Death Row for so long he watched young prison guards grow old and retire while he was waiting to die or get a commutation. That certainly qualifies as “hard time”.

I guess this execution is raw vengeance in its purest form. Taking a captive human to a death chamber is in itself a disgusting act. Being part of this kind of barbarism carries the mark of Cain. There are no heroes here.

I oppose the death penalty not because people don’t deserve that fate but because no government should have the power to kill their own citizens. Every government on earth will abuse that power sooner or later. I have no qualms about killing in legitimate self defense or defense of another.

As for Gardner he’s about to cease to exist or cross over to the “other side” if you believe there is one. One thing for sure his earthly tormentors can punish him no more.

23 comments:

I'm for the Death Penalty . said...

Paul , This is probably the only time that I've ever disagreed with you on any subject matter . You are most likely 1 in 1000 Police or X Police that don't agree with the death Penalty . So now after some 25 yrs. this guy is going to be put to death and he should be shot but if I were in charge they would be 10 shooters all armed with 50 cal rifles . This guy is a POS and deserves to die . Quit huggin' the tree Paul it's time to look ahead to the next one .

Crimefile said...

I take a lot of heat from my copper pals on my death penalty opinion. That and my desire to end the Drug War, sets me apart from a lot of coppers.

I’d much rather see these horrible criminals shot down like dogs when they are doing their deeds.

Anonymous said...

Its just a White man no one cares.

Anonymous said...

Suck it up like a man u mass murderer. Costs: 1 target .50 cents. 5 bullets $5 bucks. He’ll never kill again

Anonymous said...

I used to for the death penalty,then I became a cop and saw the incompetance.The detectives,bosses,states attorny,judges are so grossly corrupt.

It really is bizzaro land.

Anonymous said...

Utterly barbaric.

Anonymous said...

I also have to disagree with you on this one. As a retired cop, I do agree with your stand on the Drug War. It is an utter failure and needs to be ended. But on the topic at hand, I am for the death penalty ONLY in those instances where there can be absolutely no doubt as to the guilt of the accused. Things like video of the crime taking place with positive identification, DNA match with the victim, etc. In this case, the murder he was executed for was done while in court for a previous murder. Two innocent people killed by this mutt and you are having doubts? Once a cop, always a cop. Don't let that side of you fade away.

Anonymous said...

If we believe that we go on to a better world, why hasten to send anyone there who has committed a capital crime? Let them live a long life here, imprisoned and at hard labor, knowing they will never breath a day of free air again. Now that's torture!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you get a coin and free therapy for killing a criminal...cool...sign me up.

Anonymous said...

Paul - keep the faith and your integrity. I too was The Police until I realized that the war on crime, the war on drugs and the war on terror were a hoax to make the few rich at the expense of the many. (For those of you who doubt this, Google "War is a Racket" and read it. The man was a Marine.) The problem is that there are too many victims on both sides.

Stop reading if you aren't a Christian - Are you ready to advocate sending a man to a point from which he can no longer repent? I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Let he who is without sin throw the first stone. The incestuous relationship between the 'Law and Order' Republican Party and evangelicals has led to a herd of double minded Christians. Choose today whom you will serve.

Peace, Will.

Cleophus said...

He knew what he was doing and what the consequences would be. More's the pity that he lived as long as he did eating and sleeping on the public's dime. I say good riddance to bad rubbish; though I have to say I do prefer a long drop on a short rope to the needless expense and fuss of a firing squad.

BastiatsGhost said...

Killing in self-defense is perfectly acceptable. Killing someone who is not a threat to you, no matter what they have done or what the circumstances are, is vengeance plain and simple. What people call "justice" is nothing more than the redistribution of violence.

The "death penalty" itself is ritual human sacrifice. Instead of someone personally injured physically or emotionally by the accused just shooting them on the spot in rage, the accused are trotted out and put on display after having to wait days, weeks, months, even years in dread of what will befall them. The "procedure" aka ritual is carefully prepared, charged with anticipation by an audience, and ends with a pseudo-sexual release as the accused is finally murdered (sacrificed).

All of this for a proven false belief in the fairy tale of deterrance - that is to say punishing someone for the crimes that another may or may not commit in the future. Or to appease some universal god of "justice" or retribution. And you people think you behave any differently from the savages of old?

All of this while Obama and Bush enjoy immunity - IMMUNITY - from ever being held accountable for the hundreds and even thousands of INNOCENT people who are murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan by flying terminator warbots. Their deaths are classified under the euphemism "COLLATERAL DAMAGE", but I don't think their wives, husbands, sons, and daughters who lose the people they cherish most would consider their deaths to be anything other than more ritual human sacrifice.

I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I signed off on ritual human sacrifice or collateral murder... I really don't know how you people do.

Anonymous said...

You can be for the death penalty and believe that "vengeance is mine" (thus not saith the Lord) and still agree with Paul who, I think, is saying that the way in which we inflict the death penalty is without honor and integrity.

The penalty should be carried out swiftly. The shot should be fired (or the lever on the gallows pulled) by the family member or friend who wants the offender to die. Six professional marksman firing at a target attached to the chest of a guy strapped to a chair? Pure cowardice. And one of the weapons has no live rounds? Pure and utter cowardice. Integrity suggests, at the least, that only one of the six weapons should contain live rounds. Let those who volunteer to kill do so openly without self-delusion.

What if it turns out that the individual has been wrongly executed? The jury who found him/her guilty and the judge who pronounced the sentence should experience the same fate that they meted out to the mistaken individual.

A nation without honor will punish without honor. That's the problem, not whether we should impose the death penalty or not.

Anonymous said...

25 years on death row? Why not 300?

How many legal beagles made a living on keeping this jerk alive for a quarter century?

You can argue for/against the death penalty, but if we're going to use it, it shouldn't take a full generation to do so.

That's a mockery of justice regardless.

Tom Mullen said...

The point about the government having the power to kill its citizens is an excellent one. I've always opposed the death penalty, that perspective gives me one more reason.

For those who do not, I respectfully offer this: if you believe that the worst of the worst murderers should suffer the ultimate punishment, then I suggest that life in prison is much worse than a death sentence. When you are in prison, there is no real life, and it goes on and on. Whether you believe killing is wrong, even killing murderers, or you believe that murderers should receive the cruelest punishment, life in prison trumps the death penalty on both accounts.

zach said...

I am not against the death penalty, PER SE. I just can't give this increasingly criminal government that power. The government should get rid of all drug and gun control laws that exist, and actively promote the killing of violent felons during the commission of their crimes. We'd then see much less violence. Most jurisdictions now have concealed carry, in fact some states have no permit requirement at all. Unfortunately, it's the cities that are so anti-self defense, and that is where most of the crime is. And of course, as long as we have the "drug war" the scum will always rise to meet that black market demand, resulting in violence that could be avoided.

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

I'm in favor of the death penalty - it is why I carry a GLOCK pistol practically everywhere. It is just for me to defend myself, my wife, and my daughters with lethal force if our lives are threatened.

But what happens at the hands of the state is not justice. As mentioned, it's nothing more than a human sacrifice ritual.

It restores nothing, it compensates nothing, it remunerates nothing, it atones for nothing, and it deters nothing.

It is the most blatant reminder that our entire justice system is based on revenge - and not even revenge for offenses to people, but revenge for offenses to the state.

Anonymous said...

I understand your position in as such that I also feel that giving any government the power of life or death over any citizen is a dangerous proposition. However, in this case the man was undoubtedly guilty of at least one murder. The only problem is that the system delayed the execution of his sentence for so long, which I agree could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

It would have been more just to let the victim's family determine his punishment, and for them to carry it out.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in the idea of using prison to re-educate. Nor do I believe time wears away the just punishment for the crime.

Nor do I believe the government should engage the act of capital punishment. The witnesses should. If they can't throw the stones, the criminal goes free. If the witnesses prove to be malicious liars, they should receive the punishment that their victim would have or did receive.

sbrogden said...

He should have been executed 23 years ago. The crime of murder has been compounded by the crime of justice delayed. He forfeited his right to live when he murdered another human.

The state has the moral authority to take a life in such cases. Read Romans 13.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a government should never have the right to put its citizens to death but I do think the victim(s) should have the right to choose.

It should be the moral decision of the person wronged by the accuse to decide their fate. eye for eye and all the religious stuff.

Yes the war on drugs is evil perpetrated by those entrusted to do good!

Anonymous said...

Hi from Florida. Let's talk about the freakazoid who took a 14 year old female hitchhiker in CA, raped and tortured her, then cut off both her forearms just for the sheer pleasure of it, then left her by the road to die. Someone found her, she lived minus arms, and he went to CA prison where, after less than 20 years, he was RELEASED. No town would have him in CA so he was dumped in Florida - where he tortured and murdered ANOTHER woman. He spent 18 years on death row and DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES in prison before he could be executed. In my opinion, some creatures do not fit the category of "human being", and should be exterminated upon a guilty verdict being reached.

Crimefile said...

The morons that let that animal out deserve punishment. Since that earlier crime was not a murder there was no death penalty.

I'm for letting Americans protect themselves on the street and in their homes with firearms just for this kind of fellow.