The state of Utah is preparing to kill someone, and it is slowly making me crazy.
I do not condone the actions of Ronnie Lee Gardner. He killed two people, and critically injured another. He admits to it. He has never really sincerely apologized for his actions, blaming them instead on his childhood, and drug abuse. He is not what I would call a "good guy." However, that doesn't mean he should be murdered in a spectacle that is beginning to rival that of a circus.
This execution is bringing out the grim aspects of humanity. At a commutation hearing earlier this week two family members of one of Gardner's victims pumped their fists when his appeal was denied. Local newspapers, and television stations, are doing multiple stories every day. As the execution day grows near national media are joining them. Gardner's every move is being cataloged, and transmitted in press releases. People are vying for seats in the execution chamber. All of it is being rapidly devoured by the public. They are eating up blood lust, pure and simple. And they are calling it justice.
I think that's the worst part for me. This idea that the state sanctioned killing of a man is justice. I thought society was supposed to try and raise people up, not kowtow to their basest instincts. I thought we were supposed to work together to push forward, and not resort to methods of the past that obviously have never worked. After all, if eye for an eye really is a deterrent, shouldn't murder already be a thing of the past?
Also, I don't see how this isn't cruel and unusual punishment. Telling someone you are going to kill them, and that people are going to watch them be killed? Letting them count down the hours and days? Telling them everyone around them knows they will be killed, but that no one can help them? Replace "state" with "psycho" and that is the basis of a great horror movie. Eli Roth could direct.
I'm just glad I don't have to explain this to my daughter.