Shurtleff after execution: "Bring me his scalp!"

OK, this is unbelievable.

Our esteemed Attorney General Mark Shurtleff who, lest we forget is (a) a politician and (b) up for reelection, just hit the bottom.

He tweeted the execution of  Ronny Lee Gardner.  No kidding. (click)

“I just gave the go-ahead” said one. “Be sure to watch my press conference” said another.

Is this twit kidding? No.

I love how all the politicians in the state who favor the death penalty bend over backwards to say how serious it is, how solomn, how it is justice and something the state of Utah takes seriously and quit going on about the firing squad this is serious stuff!!!!!

And they won’t let the press take pictures of it because, hey, this is serious, we can’t have that damn liberal media abusing this man’s death. LOOK  HOW DIGNIFIED WE ARE!!!

Then this clown uses it for a real-time election prop. Is that why he wanted Gardner dead, so he could get reelected?

I said in previous blogs and columns that the death penalty is wrong, and this is one reason why. Politicians don’t care who’s guilty or innocent, they just want to show blood to the voters.

Shurtleff has his blood. I hope he chokes on it.

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19 Responses to Shurtleff after execution: "Bring me his scalp!"

  1. Bob Becker says:

    Yeah, well, Charlie, I hold no brief for Shurtleff, but to be fair, your paper ran not only a straight news story on the execution, but also an eye-witness account of it from a wire service witness to it with, I expect, lots of juicy detail. [I didn't read either story.] . The fact is there is a lot of ghoulish interest in executions across the population. Shurtleff was being tacky, yes, but he tapped into what is clearly widespread public interest in the minutiae of the execution for his own benefit. Just like the papers that ran stories on Gardner’s last meal, on how he spent his final hours, on the final visit from his family, etc. etc. maybe?.

  2. Doug Gibson says:

    His mentality similar to the cynical governor in John Grisham’s “The Chamber.”

  3. Mark Shenefelt says:

    “We keilled ‘nother varmint. Yessiree.”

    Being in favor of the death penalty is one thing. Exulting in the execution and plumbing it for political gain is another. I’m not at all surprised our blowhard A.G. is thumping his chest and even twittering about Gardner’s demise.

    Shurtleff’s even wasting time — our time, the taxpayers’ time and money — fighting the Bowl Championship Series, because he knows it’s more red meat for the masses. Executions and football and whatever else he can find that he figures will turn the dials on Utah’s hard-right voters.

  4. ctrentelman says:

    so, bob, what you are saying is it is ok for the AG to sensationalize a shooting death because the press does it?

    wow. Bob. Think, man. Think.

    First, Shurtleff is a PUBLIC OFFICIAL. We expect him to act with a certain amount of decorum when killing someone.

    Second, to say “well, the media does it,” means that it is ok for public officials to lower themselves to the level of the press?

    Cripes, Bob, even I’m offended by the way the press handles these things. The last shooting, which I covered, was captured beautifully by Cal Grondahl in a cartoon showing a line of TV cameras lined up and with a caption saying “Ready, aim ….”

    And if I am offended by the way the media handles these things — that’s why the state no longer holds public executions, because the press promotes a carnival atmosphere and these things must be done with decorum — then I am CERTAINLY offended when a public official, who chides the press for being tacky, then acts in a tacky manner.

    Which I submit Shurtleff did.

  5. He likes blood atonement. It brings him closer to Kolob.

  6. Bob Becker says:


    You asked, “o, bob, what you are saying is it is ok for the AG to sensationalize a shooting death because the press does it?

    No, Charlie, I’m not saying that. And what I posted was critical of what the AG did. I merely noted that exploiting the execution is something the press, including the Standard Examiner, indulged in for benefit [the eyewitness account]. I thought that was pretty tacky too. Your point about the AG being a public official is good, but then, I think of newspapers as playing an important role in the American system of government — more important than the AG’s role, in fact — and the papers, including the SE, seemed to me were pandering in a way not entirely unlike the way the AG was pandering, and “using” the execution.

  7. Willbike says:


    You believe that the Standard Examiner exploited the execution and your evidence is two article that you did not read. Wow.

  8. Bob Becker says:


    Not two articles, one. There was a straight news article on the execution which was not a problem. Then there was the pool reporter’s eyewitness account. I got as far as her surprise that there was not blood spraying all over when the bullets hit Gardner, and I quit. That article simply indulged the ghoulish interests of readers. [Wasn't just the SE, by the way. SLTrib I think published the same eyewitness article about the reporters "feelings" about what she saw, etc. So did many many other papers.]

    The fact that it was so widely published by daily papers merely underlines the point I was trying to make in re: Charlie’s post about the AG’s using the execution for his own benefit. Newspapers across the land [I mentioned the SE specifically because (a) it's my home town paper (b) I'm a subscriber (c) and Charlie writes for it] played to the morbid curiosity of their readers with stories about his last meal or how he spent his last hours or tearful last meeting with his family or the eyewitness account. With the press coast to coast, for the most part, more than willing to cash in on Gardner’s execution that way, I wanted to suggest that the AG wasn’t much out of the mainstream in what he did. He shouldn’t have. On that Charlie and I agree. To turn a grave and solemn duty required of him by his public office into a twitter -fest to aid his career was abominable. The man’s a pig. But the newspaper press shouldn’t have catered to the ghoulish morbid curiosity of their readers either. Reporting the sentence, the appeals and how they turned out, and the fact of his execution fine. The rest was pandering that a responsible press should not have indulged in.

    Part of what I, as a subscriber, expect from the papers I subscribe to is sound judgment about what’s newsworthy and what’s not, what they ought to present to their readers and what they shouldn’t. The Gray Lady [NYTimes] has declined considerably over the past twenty years from the high standards regarding reporting and news judgment it once set [think of Judith Miller's tub-thumping for the Iraqi invasion with false information fed her by Iraqi war advocates which she printed uncritically and without attribution with virtually no editorial insistence that it be corroborated first] . Nevertheless, back in the old days, one of the Time’s mottoes used to be “All The News That’s Fit To Print.” [Inevitably lampooned by people who preferred their news in pre-digested bite-sized chunks, and who flocked to McPaper when it first appeared, as "All The News That Fits We Print"]. “All the News That’s Fit To Print” was not a bad standard, provided good news editors make good calls regarding what was “fit to print.”

    In printing the eyewitness account, the SE, the SL Trib and many many more made the wrong call “on fit to print.” I expect better of the paper I subscribe to — as I expect better of the AG who applies the laws, including the death penalty, in the name of The People Of Utah…. i.e. me.

  9. Willbike says:

    I don’t have any morbid curiosity. If our government is going to execute people then I sure as hell want to know exactly how they are doing it. I think its my duty as a citizen to know the details of this action. That does not mean I enjoy it, it means I’m completely informed on this very serious matter. I can just imagine what we would be saying if eye witness accounts were not allowed.

  10. Bob Becker says:


    Well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this. I thought the main news story about the execution covered what needed to be reported, based on reports from people who were there. The pool reporter’s on her personal reactions I thought was pandering. Clearly, you didn’t. I’m just hard put to see what a citizen who wanted to be informed about what was done in his or her name would not have gotten from the main news story. And so it seemed to me papers who carried that second account were indulging in something similar to what the AG indulged in. That’s all.

  11. Michael Trujillo says:

    So Bob Becker wants the death penalty carried out in his name but, please, don’t gross him out with the gory details about how it was actually carried out. Please don’t write about blood even though the guy was shot with four bullets in Bob’s name (as a citizen).

    We really have become a weak people. We’re upset by photos of the dead soldiers fighting our cause, we’re upset by photos of crime scenes in our neighborhoods, we’re upset by students seeing photos of actual reproductive organs, we don’t want to see the photos of how war detainees are treated even though we want them detained forever, and we don’t want to read the eye witness account of a reporter who was admitted to the excuction by the state for the very purpose of providing an eye witness account.

    Somebody somewhere figured out a long time ago that they can get away with just about anything as long as they don’t show gory photos to the citizenry.

  12. Bob Becker says:


    You wrote: “So Bob Becker wants the death penalty carried out in his name but, please, don’t gross him out with the gory details about how it was actually carried out.”

    You will look in vain, MJ, for me arguing for the death penalty anywhere on this blog or in the SE comments posts. Because we get death penalty convictions wrong — 17 people so far freed from death row by DNA evidence not available at the time of their convictions, for example — I’ve argued against continuing the death penalty.

    You also wrote: “We’re upset by photos of the dead soldiers fighting our cause, we’re upset by photos of crime scenes in our neighborhoods, we’re upset by students seeing photos of actual reproductive organs, we don’t want to see the photos of how war detainees are treated even though we want them detained forever.”

    That some people are, sure. But your list in no way reflects my opinion on the things you list. You won’t find any examples of me opposing photos of war casualties, or of neighborhood crimes scenes, or of “students seeing photos of actual reproductive organs,” or of photos of prisoner treatment, or of my supporting life-time detention without trial for those suspected of terrorist acts against us.

    The point I made at the start of this discussion [or tried to] was that newspapers exploited this execution for their own benefit [which was not unlike what the AG did] when they went beyond simply reporting Gardner’s execution as straight news. That’s all.

  13. Michael Trujillo says:

    My apologies, BB, for mis-interpreting your view. I do, however, disagree with your disdain for the eye witness account. I think that everyone should be exposed to the gory details of executions. It needs to be a real experience for our society IF we’re going to continue the practice. It’s the fact that it’s so bloodless and scrubbed clean that makes it easy for many of the pro-execution crowd to favor it.

    Top 5 practisioners of the death penalty in 2008 – China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, & …………………… the U.S.

  14. Don says:

    Just for the record, I don’t think Shurtleff is up for re-election until 2012. The argument may be made that politicians are always running for re-election, but still …

  15. Glenn v. Ballard says:

    Considering that you are:

    -a hopeless idealist.
    -unwilling to acknowledge evil in individual humans.
    -categorically opposed to capital punishmet, or for that matter, any form of violence, no matter how justified.

    I really think that your complaint against Shurleff is academic, don’t you?

  16. Its kind of stupid to parade your religious bigotry, instead of arguing the issue at hand.

  17. Bill Roberts says:

    Charlie, Shurtleff isn’t up for reelection until 2012. If you can’t get this basic fact correct how can we believe anything else you write? You say Shurtleff trivalized Gardner’s execution. But wasn’t it Gardner who trivalized the lives of two innocent victims?

  18. Charles Trentelman says:

    I suppose i could point out that I didn’t say WHEN he is up for reelection.

    More broadly, Shurtleff has been increasingly political in the way he conducts himself and his office of late — lots of public statements of the Tea Party variety. And he did make a run for Senate earlier this year, you may recall.

    This twitter nonsense is just another example.

    He’s running for office, even if it’s just the one he has now, but I suspect he’s got hopes for other postings.

  19. Pingback: The Weekly WTF?!? Briefing (June 13-19, 2010)

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