Utah Firing Squad Twitter Announcement

Carmel Lobello :: Friday, June 18th, 2010 5:00 pm

Twitter has some unspoken rules. Just ask Andrea Bartz and’s Brenna Ehrlich, who wrote an enlightening piece for CNN’s Netiquette column last week “Don’t Tweet That: How Not to be a Twitter Dork”. In an effort to make Twitter more enjoyable for everyone, the girls advised readers to avoid bragging, wining, and over sharing on Twitter because it’s annoying and rude, and it kind of junks up our homepages. Well, they forgot one category. It’s apparently considered uncouth to tweet about assassinations you just ordered. Especially highly-publicized assassinations by firing squad.

Shortly after midnight last night, the past and the future of acceptable social practice violently collided when Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff used almost all of his characters to tweet the words: “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.”

By this morning, in true Twitter form, the tweet intended for Shurtleff’s 7,000 followers “went viral”, and tweeters from South Africa to Indiana went berserk in criticism about the insensitivity of tweeting about killing a person. The web has dubbed the incident “Death by Twitter.”

After a last dinner two days ago of steak, lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream and 7UP, the convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner was pronounced dead 12:17 A.M. today. In form with pictures of firing squads from the wild west, Gardner had a black bag tied around his head and a target fixed to his chest. It was the first execution by firing squad in the United States in 14 years, and a reminder that the modern world’s ethical practices are lagging far behind its  technological developments.