Friday, June 18, 2010


After not writing a journal for several days I feel a little vulnerable. I can't explain it, but somehow I'm at a loss. Mundane daily drivel was my way of making sense of my existence and I felt comfortable with recording it.

I'll continue with cold turkey for a while and see what benefits rise to the surface.

David Bourne joined me to work on Wanda's garden last night. She's in the States for another few weeks and a few of us have been looking after it to prevent it becoming unmanageable for her when she returns. Doing something for others always makes me feel good...I'm selfish like that.

Earlier in the day MIL fell down the steps of Newark Town Hall and damaged her foot, shoulder and cheek. She's been ordered to rest. Fortunately nothing is broken and she's currently catching up on sleep lost from last night.

She left yesterdays Daily Mirror lying around and I inexplicably succumbed to reading it. She obviously buys it for the football as you can't seriously consider its content as anything other than gossip and hearsay.

I was shocked to read about Ronnie Lee Gardner and wonder if his execution tonight in SLC is based on fact. He is the last man to face a firing squad in the USA for a crime he committed in 1985.

As I wake up tomorrow with thoughts of England's victory over Algeria, Ronnie Lee Gardner will no longer exist.

My shock is partly due to the method of execution. It's so violent and at odds with my perception of SLC. If the firing squad was banned in 2004, why is this one going ahead?

I hope he had no regrets and was unrepentant about the two lives he took, otherwise my views on the death sentence will waver. I feel uncomfortable about this but perhaps I should have faith that every opportunity has been given for Ronnie to turn his life around and one day take his place as a contributing and safe member of society and that such opportunity was rejected, spurned and wasted.

I still feel does MIL for different reasons.

Oh dear! Bev has left a box of Maltesers open and it seemed the most natural thing in the world to help myself.

I feel comfortable with the consequences but I'm sure Bev won't when she drops by at lunch-time.

I thought it was tonight at midnight but Ronnie Lee Gardner has already been executed.

 At his commutation hearing, Gardner shed a tear after telling the board his attempts to apologise to the Otterstroms and Kirks had been unsuccessful. He said he hoped for forgiveness. "If someone hates me for 20 years, it's going to affect them," Gardner said. "I know killing me is going to hurt them just as bad. It's something you have to live with every day. You can't get away from it. I've been on the other side of the gun. I know."

I know I'm not in possession of all the facts but I really do feel uncomfortable about this execution now. These aren't the words of a hardened unrepentant killer.
Gardner's lawyers argued that the jury which sentenced him to death in 1985 heard no mitigating evidence that might have led them to instead impose a life sentence. Gardner's life was marked by early drug addiction, physical and sexual abuse and possible brain damage, court records show.
The Father of one of Gardner's victims said he believed his son's killing was not premeditated, but a "knee-jerk reaction" by a desperate Gardner attempting to escape.
While I was painting in my studio without a care in the world Gardner spent his last day sleeping, reading the novel Divine Justice, watching the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy and meeting his lawyers and a bishop from the Mormon church. A prison spokesman said officers described his mood as relaxed. He had eaten his last requested meal - steak, lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream and 7Up soft drink - two days earlier.

It's ironic that the book Gardner was reading was written by Baldacci...a former lawyer.

My cosy little world has been invaded by harsh reality.


  1. Well, when you read about some of the things that happen with the lethal injection I think death by gunfire would be a more instant outcome. I don't know anything about this case but if someone near and dear to me was killed then I would want the perpetrator to lose their life as well.

  2. Would that not possibly be two tragedies? If the killing was cold and calculated your point would have strength for me, but quite often it isn't as black and white and there is real torment and regret mixed in with circumstances difficult to unravel. What if your loved one was the killer and you knew him as someone acting out of character and under an influence beyond his control at the time?

    If the death sentence was legal here in the UK it would have to be exclusively for cast-iron undisputed cold-blooded pre-meditated murder. I think I would vote for such legislation. As to the method of death...not a clue!

  3. I was amazed to come to your site today and find that you were thinking the same things that have been going through my mind for the past few days.

    I didn't live in Utah when Gardner committed his crimes, so I had heard nothing about the situation until a few weeks ago when the Salt Lake channels began talking about his upcoming execution.

    In the news spots, they reported that Gardner professed a change of life and that he insisted he was no longer the young kid who murdered two people. He wanted to start a community garden and have troubled youth be responsible for maintaining it. He also said he would like to work with delinquent kids and help them change their lives.

    I went back and forth over this situation and was as troubled by it as you were. Luckily I have never had a family member who was murdered, so I don't know how the victims' families feel.

    Yet something bothered me that was hard to pin down. Are we denying the criminal a chance for repentance when we take his life? Did Gardner truly change? Is it just as inhumane for us to keep a criminal alive for 20 years, letting him feel a sense of hope, only to spring it on him 20 years later that he has to die after all?

    One of the true mercies that God bestows upon us is that we don't know when we will die. I cannot imagine living a life when I knew the day and the very minute when my life would be taken. How would I live, knowing I only had a finite number of hours left to me? Would I spend it watching a movie? Reading a book? If I had truly changed, wouldn't I want to spend every remaining minute doing as much good as I could? Or would the horror of the moment so overcome me that I would want to lose myself in a fictional world?

    Yes, justice needs to be served. But for a reason I can't fathom, capital punishment has always been an uncomfortable concept for me. Would I rather the criminal spend his remaining days wasting away in a cell? Maybe, but I don't know. Maybe capital punishment isn't so much a punishment as it is a deterrent. Would I feel differently if someone unjustly took the life of one of my children? Would I want to see that person hang? Maybe. But whose call is it? And what kind of a person volunteers to be on the execution squad?

    Maybe Gardner should have spent the last few years of his life doing good instead of saying, "If you spare my life, then I will do good things."

    In the end, I don't know how I feel, other than what you said. Uncomfortable.

  4. Hi Randi
    I think 'uncomfortable' is the perfect word for this situation.
    I think the USA still send the clearest message to offenders even though it shows up flawed from time to time. On balance it succeeds where the UK consistently fail. We aren't even capable of making a fixed term remain fixed. The British are continually frustrated with the law which always seems to favour the criminal rather than the victim. Prison is even preferred by many failed criminals who see it as an opportunity to be housed, fed, clothed, kept warm and above all educated to the highest level...all for free.

  5. I don't see how anything remotely positive could come out of this sanctioned violence. I'm uncomfortable with this turn of events too.

  6. Can't add much to this discussion except that there must be very few people in this life that truly deserve to die. I have no problem with God making the choices, but when it comes to flawed men who can never truly know the state of a man's heart or mind, I just can't accept it. I know the church's position on this, but it will never sway mine.

    Touchy subject for me, this one.

  7. I was just reading all the comments on the execution of Mr Gardner and I am in agreement for the most part about capital punishment and how unsettling it is. However the horror that this man caused so many people, seemed premeditated and not once but twice did he murder some innocent person... someones father and husband brother and son.Although he had a tragic childhood.. which by the way many people have had and have risen above it,does not give him the right to use that excuse to justify his actions. It also is very easy for someone to say they have changed but actions speak louder than words, he refused to apologise at the end of his life. I know and believe that people should be given a second chance and people can change I am able to testify of that,regardless this man had no regard for the families that have had to live with the sorrow that they did not choose. As for the volunteers on the firing squad..someone commented on What kind of people would volunteer. I want to say compassionate humane people for the mear fact that if they had not volunteered someone else would have been selected to the task. I can not imagine the turmoil they had to face carrying out the execution and how can anyone even imply that they are heartless and that they are enjoying it.I really think we should be greatful that some one had the courage to act on our behalf.I know deep in my heart that our Heavenly Father will take care of the situation.Capital punishment is harse but what other course of action do you suggest? paying for the murderous criminal to get a free education, free healthcare(better than we have) and basically say we have rights and they are being violated. I don;t know what the answer is but in this case I believe it was justified.

  8. Thanks for your comments Anonymous...I appreciate them. I certainly hope you are right regarding the volunteers.

    I certainly agree that there is only one judge.

    Be sure to drop by and comment from time to time.

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