Thursday, June 24, 2010

Premeditated Homicide by Firing Squad

Here is an excerpt from an extremely well done piece by Timothy Egan from today's New York Times Opinionator:
Around midnight last Friday the shoeless prisoner was roused from a nap and strapped into a chair. The guards put a patch over his heart, the firing squad’s target from 25 feet. Any last words? “I do not. No.” With that, a black hood was placed over the bald head of the condemned man, and the countdown began: five, four, three, two, one. Each of the five gunmen squeezed off a shot from a .30 caliber rifle, though one was firing a blank. At once, four bullets entered the chest of Ronnie Lee Gardner. His fist clenched. The fist opened. A few minutes later, his pulse was checked. The deed was done: the state of Utah had killed the killer. ************** Ronnie Lee Gardner was no martyr, no wronged man. His life was trouble and pain from the beginning. Drug and alcohol abuse. Random violence. Robberies, and two murders of people who had the misfortune to get in his way. “He believes he needs to pay for what he’s done,” the killer’s daughter, Brandie Gardner, told reporters before the execution. “But at the same time, people should know that what they’re doing is murder.” That’s really the heart of this debate, and always has been: is it murder for society to take a life?
It may not be "murder," but it is most definitely premeditated homicide, as this execution by firing squad vividly illustrates.