Ready, Aim, Fire! Finally.

In what appears to be quite possibly the lamest, last ditch effort to save oneself from having their death penalty carried out, a one Ronnie Lee Gardner has asked the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole for clemency. His rationale? Oh, he's sorry. And he's different. And he's changed. Oh, and he thinks that he has plans (that may or may not involve Oprah Winfrey) "...to develop 160 acres in northern Utah for an organic farm and residential program for children...so he can help troubled kids avoid the kind of problems that landed him on death row." Uh-huh. Wait. What?

Correct. Meet Ronnie Lee Gardner. Ronnie's name is all too familiar to Utahns. Gardner was in a courtroom about to be tried for one murder and in an escape attempt, ended up killing an attorney. Oh, whoops! Gardner received the death penalty back in, oh, 1985. That's right. 1985. 25 years ago. How, exactly, is that a "penalty"? Should it really take twenty five freaking years to off this guy? It's not like there's a lot to argue here. He killed both of them. It's completely obvious. He did it. He's guilty. Why has he not been dead for a long time at this point? Who knows? I don't get it.

And another thing that I don't get is his latest attempt to spare his own life. Mind you, when this guy was asked what method he would prefer his execution to be, when given the choice between lethal injection and firing squad, this nutjob chose the firing squad. His reasoning? He's been shot several times before. He knows what that feels like. He doesn't know what lethal injection feels like, so he figured that he'd just go with what he was familiar with. Being shot. If you're that familiar with being shot, I certainly hope that you're not surprised that your ass ended up on death row.

But in this latest stunt (which seems like it's probably more for his own amusement and a good way to pass the time), he's trying to convince folks that he's a changed guy. Now, never mind that he "...had long been a problem inmate – instigating a riot, stabbing another prisoner and attempting multiple escapes, one of which was successful." Sure, that happened. But that was in the past. It's not the past anymore. It's the present and he's sorry. He even explains those things, according to an article over there at
The Huffington Post, by telling the Board, "I was a nasty little bugger, I admit to it...I'm not changing to save my life. I've changed because I needed to change." A nasty little bugger? Um, sir, when you kill a couple of people for no reason what so ever, you're a little bit more than "a nasty little bugger". No, you, sir, are an a-hole. That's a little different.

But he has a plan! Here's the deal: Commute his sentence and he, along with the help of his brother, will get to work "...on his idea for the "Back to Basics" program" because he "...wants to help prevent kids from traveling down a path to violence and criminal activity." Hmmm. I think that this idea might have been more well received had he not already murdered two people. Now maybe that's just me, but I don't think so. After all, he apparently contacted The Oprah a couple of years ago to see if she would help him get this off the ground. I'm guessing that she declined.

And he's clearly thought this through. See, "He said he's earned about $1,300 selling prison artwork and crafts – handmade baby booties and handkerchiefs – to start the project." Yeah, um, no. How is $1,300 going to develop "...160 acres in northern Utah for an organic farm and residential program"? Oh, that's right. It's not. It's not now. It never will. And how sweet that he earned his money by handmaking baby booties! Who in the world is buying prison made baby booties?! Have y'all never heard of Baby Gap?!

I find these last minute pleas for clemency to be insulting to the memories of those who died needlessly at the hands of people like Mr. Gardner. I find it insulting for the relatives of those who died. I find it insulting all the way around. I understand that this is the way that our system works and that it's what makes our system the greatest in the world, but when it comes to pieces of trash like Ronnie Lee Gardner, I kind of wish that there was some sort of an out clause in the system.

You don't want kids to grow up and turn out like you did, Mr. Gardner? Tell you what. How about you pipe down and let those fine marksmen over there at the prison shoot a bunch of holes in you until you're good and dead? And then after they've placed your body in a Hefty bag and set it by the curb (seems like a proper burial), how about then if we tell kids about how things ended up for you? That seems a little bit more reasonable than letting you live. Fortunately, the last time that a death sentence was commuted in Utah was in 1962. And if that sort of reason prevails here, that will continue to stand as the last commutation in Utah. Then they can get down to business and execute this "nasty little bugger". Finally.