Tweeting Death

[Shani O. Hilton]

Look. I really, really like Twitter. I'm not one of those people who thinks it's only good for one thing, or that it's useless because you can't do Y on it. I've made some good connections on the site. And even, gasp, friends. I believe people should use Twitter in whatever way that best serves them, since the beauty of the site is that you don't have to follow anyone you don't want to hear from.

With that said, this post by Gautham Nagesh at The Hill's tech blog blew me away:

Utah Attorney General used his Twitter account Friday to announce the execution by firing squad of convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner.

"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," attorney general Mark Shurtleff tweeted after midnight on Friday.

I admit that part of my issue with this is that I think that capital punishment is generally indefensible. But more than that, tweeting about someone's death—even the death of a convicted murderer—strikes me as callous and not fitting for the gravity of the situation. It would be different if, say, he had tweeted a link to a press release. But to send out a message about the end of someone's life so cavalierly. It boggles.