Worth a look: Trent Nelson covers the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner

Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune - Draper - The execution chamber at the Utah State Prison after Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad Friday, June 18, 2010. Four bullet holes are visible in the wood panel behind the chair. Gardner was convicted of aggravated murder, a capital felony, in 1985.

“It’s quiet. I keep wondering if I’ll hear the shots. After a long while the media witnesses are brought to our room, with more guards. It is done, he is dead. I didn’t hear anything.” –Trent Nelson

Trent Nelson, whose blog The Click is a must read, just posted a multi-part series about his experiences covering the execution by firing squad of Ronnie Lee Gardner. This execution has been in the news recently, also, because the Utah state Attorney General announced the execution by twitter.

BagNews picked up with some brief analysis of one of Trent’s photos, as well.

2 Responses to “Worth a look: Trent Nelson covers the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner”

  1. marco aurelio

    i think there is an element of voyeurism in these pictures, one forced on the photographer by a state morally incapable of looking at its act of murder, and even less capable of allowing its conscience to record this murder for all of its members: The People, all of us, to fully grasp the depth and breadth of our acquiescence to “collective murder.”

    This pictures play right into the hands of a State that wants to hide its crime against human life and human dignity.

    Show me the pictures of the police who were the accomplices in this crime, the enforcers of murder. The one who asked for press passes. Show me a picture of the judge who gave the final memo to kill a man, to take human life. Show me a picture of each of the members of the jury looking at themselves in the mirror after taking human life. The prosecutor. I want to see a picture of themselves in the mirror.

    It is morally bankrupt how out of the way the state goes to cover the tracks of its homicide against a member of The People, and I feel tremendous discomfort at the photographer for allowing the state to dictate its sanitized-dehumanizing terms of how it should be photographed. I strongly feel that in a way, he is allowing the state to make him one more accomplice. I am terribly sorry if that sounds pretty harsh, but I stand by my words. Putting their fingers in the bullet holes? Indignity is too small an adjective. What is the word for deriving pleasure and/or… i dunno. necrophilic porn?

    Vengeance is not a justification for murder. Otherwise we are not different than the genocide monger. We are no less the facilitators and accomplices to murder than any land where genocide is practiced. And for those of us in charge of being the fly of Athens, it is unforgivable not to be aware of the voice of conscience, not to dig deep to question one’s acts.

    Long and hard will be our toil for our transgressions against human life and human dignity.

    Human life is to be respected above all. That is the most fundamental and inalienable human right. The day we allow that right to be violated, it is the day we all kill, maim and murder something sacred in us.

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