Before he was executed, a killer expressed remorse
I'm sorry, I've had enough. Can't we let murderers lie, in respect for the
victims families? They suffer enough as it is without seeing this stuff in the
Gripping story--thanks to you and Bishop Bradshaw for sharing it. There is a bit
of Ronnie Lee Gardner in most of us, and (hopefully) many friends, associates,
spouses, and other family members who "rescue" us from ourselves.
I would hope Bishop Bradshaw would publish his history with Ronnie Lee Gardner,
fascinating reading. Thank you Bishop! You too Doug for writing this up.
Interesting story - would be a making for a great movie!
Pretty powerful stuff.
Sometimes we forget that the murderers on death row are also human, have a
background that is tarnished with horrible events, and that they have let those
events dictate their lives. Their thoughts and feelings are just as real as any
of ours. This doesn't dismiss the fact that Ronnie did bad things,
but it's interesting that he finally had his own softening of the heart, and
wanted to reach out to other kids before they turned their lives into a pit of
This story reminds me of Matthew 25:34-40.Bishop Bradshaw's calling
is not easy, it represents some of the best of Christian good works.
Bradshaw does not excuse what was done. He does demonstrate the best of what
being a follower of Christ would do. A couple of verses of "A Poor
Wayfaring Man of Grief come to mind.
This is a story that needs to be told because all of us have an obligation to
reach out to help anyone within our scope and means of doing so. I am sorry I
have failed to be more understand and comforting to out of control students, to
distressed neighbors, and to anyone else I might have helped. We especially have
the responsibility to be dedicated parents. It is obvious that the parents of
the man executed entirely missed the boat. My commendations to Bishop Bradshaw
and the author of the article for sharing this terribly sad story that has a
message for all of us.I hope that the repentence process has
continued beyond the veil.
Killing people to show that killing people is wrong makes society complicit in
premeditated murder. Vengeance and revenge are the real motives for the death
penalty. Prison can hold murderers, we don't have to kill them. Any 'religion'
that believes in the death penalty is a cult and no better than those they kill.
Re: washcomom | 8:57 a.m. July 17, 2011 No, most of the time it is
the victims we forget. The killers want us to know how bad they feel about
being executed but don't want to mention the unspeakable horrors they make their
victims suffer.Sitting on death row may soften the heart of the
killer but justice isn't served when the killer sits on death row for a quarter
I simply find the story interesting. I have a very keen interest in people, and
why they behave the way they do. I don't find anything about this glorifying of
Gardner nor insensitive to the families of the victims. I suppose I simply think
I can learn something from the experience of others. Thanks for the story Bishop
Bradshaw, Doug and DNews.
While I agree that it may well be unpleasant or worse for the families of the
victims to come across this story, I don't believe this story is glorifying
Gardner. While it is not desirable to enhance or magnify the wounds of the
families I don't believe that this article does that.Ultimately,
there will be countless things that the victim's families will encounter that
will remind them of the losses they suffer.If they are to obtain
peace in their lives, it will be by applying principles and tools that are just
as effective at helping them to overecome the daily reminders of their loss as
such tools and principles are in overcoming or dealing with the interspersed
reminders of the life, or former life of Gardner, such as this article.As for myself, I certainly benefited from reading the article.
The greatest characturistic of man is his capacity to change.Ronnie
committed vial and horrendous crimes for which he received a just sentence. Yes,
Ronnie destroyed and disrupted the lives of many families for generations to
come, for which he received a just sentence.What this story conveys
is that the most vial and viscious among us still possess the capacity to
change. Change does not, nor should, mitigate justice. Change in these most debased and seemingly inhuman humans SHOULD give to all
who are imperfect the hope that they too can be greater than they now are,
regardless of the depths to which they have sunk.Great story.
"No, most of the time it is the victims we forget. The killers want us to
know how bad they feel about being executed but don't want to mention the
unspeakable horrors they make their victims suffer.Sitting on death
row may soften the heart of the killer but justice isn't served when the killer
sits on death row for a quarter century."1) The families will
never forget. The friends will never forget.2) Killers who genuinely
feel guilt and want people to know of it typically only want others to know as a
means of somehow trying to make amends. (I'm not saying it does or that they
can, but that the intention isn't automatically selfish, only God would really
know)3) Justice may possibly be served in 1 day for all we know.
Have men ever been murderers, horrible men, who never knew anything else than
that life... and been converted instantly? Yes, the Book of Mormon even gives us
an obvious example- the point? Yes, we punish them... and rightly so. But in the
end, justice will be served either way. God is not unjust- which is why we trust
him over man's judgement.
Re: runwasatch | 3:34 p.m. July 17, 2011 When a killer is convicted
and sentenced to be executed the penalty shouldn't be left hanging over his head
for a quarter century. Appeals should be resolved quickly and the sentence
carried out swiftly. That would leave little time for death bed conversions.
Let's not forget that Gardner did, in fact, die for his crimes.That
said, I find this more of a compelling story of the LDS bishop. Gardner's
change was probably sincere, and the tragedy of his life is made more
interesting by the recollections of the bishop.
This last year has been a very hard for all of us that were close to Ronnie, and
had to deal with another murder. We have never said Ronnie was not guilty of a
terrible crime. And we defiantly feel what other families of murder feel. To
wrongs don't make it right. If this is what we are teaching our children that
its OK to kill someone who kills someone. People do change and I don't believe
we should have the ultimate right or decision to take another persons life.
Thats why this last year, I have been involved with abolishing the death
penalty, here in Utah, and the rest of the USA, and around the world. Thank you
Dan for sharing your point of view. Peace to all...
Remember, remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. My favorite
scripture. To Love Utah how sad your comments are. The lord said I will
forgive whom I will forgive. We are required to forgive all. We all need the
atonement and forgiveness. Forgiveness does not excuse or justify wrongdoing.
Yes even Ronnie Lee Garder has a soul and has value to god.
NeilT wrote: "Yes even Ronnie Lee Garder has a soul and has value to
god." It is precisely that value that makes his crimes so heinous. If
people lost intrinsic value because of their actions, everything they did would
become less important. Thank you, Dan, for sharing your & Ronnie's story. My
heartfelt condolences to Ronnie's family, as well as the victims' families.
There are no winners in this story, except for the lessons we can learn for
ourselves and the choices we make to be better than we were. If Ronnie can find
his soul, then we certainly have no excuse not to. Rest In Peace means more to
Thanks to the author of this article, and to the bishop who told this compelling
story. It was well worth reading. I also offer my condolences to
Ronnie's family. I read his brother's comment about how difficult it has been
for his family this past year. Like Randy said, "...two wrongs don't make a
right," and we are teaching our children that it's okay to kill a killer.
I am in favor of abolishing the death penalty. Only God can judge what a person
has done. and whether or not they have had a change of heart. Those who have
not sinned can cast the first stone, but in this case, I'm quite sure no one
would. May Ronnie rest in peace, regardless of the crimes he
commited; and may his family find some joy in their lives now that he gone.
Good luck to Randy in trying to abolish the death penalty in Utah.
This was a very interesting story. I have real mixed feelings about the death
sentence. I wonder how much the state of Utah has spent on Ronnie. Perhaps
everyone would be better off if murderers sent to prison for the rest of their
lives without the possibility of parole.
Thanks for sharing this story, Dan. It definitely gives us all some things to
I am not in a position to judge repentance. It does seem, that with most such
people, they are sorrier that they got caught than that they did the crime.
This applies to politicians especially. It seems they rarely say that they did
something wrong, but rather dwell on "the pain" that events caused
others, etc. We seem to have many behind bars that are "repentant"
but very few walking into the police station to confess their crime.
This article evokes many thoughts about Ronnie Lee Gardner that create a dilemma
for many. Having said that, I must say that it is regrettable that the victims
and their families are not remembered at all.What I found most
interesting was remembering my family, teachers, mentors etc. who had a profound
influence in my life. Also, the hoping that when I was raising my children that
they too had those types of individuals who would influence them for the good.
Sadly, many grow up never having that.With that in mind, I do have a
modicum of understanding for Ronnie Lee Gardner.
Manipulating manipulators manipulate.Gardner had nothing to lose,
and everything to gain by forming a relationship with the LDS Chaplain.90% of the thugs in prison will only ever *take* from society.To
imply that Gardner has something to offer, or something to *give* is him only
*taking.*Officers won't *give* inmates books on tape. They try to be
good stewards of taxpayer dollars. But they will allow it, or be forced to allow
it, once a chaplain gets in the inmates corner, and starts fighting for the
inmate, and tells them to.When I started reading this article, I
started to think: Lets all pay attention to the times the Bishop is
"getting" the inmate something that no one esle will "get"
him.If you look close, you will find that this story is nothing more
and nothing less than a manipulating manipulator doing what a manipulating
manipulator does...When a used car salesman starts talking about
their "great, great grandfather was LDS..." Once they find out their
"mark" is LDS it is an example of a manipulating manipulator... Same with inmates, except multiply that by 100...
This was a great, great story.People fail to remember this part of
it, though, especially, apparently, his relatives: "The crimes
he committed were atrocious," says Bradshaw. "I believed he should
die, and so did he."I remember a year or two after Gary Gilmore
was executed, reading a story in the paper about a man who was being robbed, and
the criminal was about to pull the trigger and the victim said, "Remember
Gary Gilmore," at which point the robber turned and fled. The man was
certain Gilmore's death saved his life.The death penalty is for
deterrence, not just justice, and no amount of "studies" will ever
convince me the death penalty isn't a deterrence. How many paroled murderers
are walking the streets in this country? How many have killed again? I suggest
people google "paroled murderers kill again."I realize the
justice system is imperfect. Guilty people go free, innocent people are
convicted, and we don't want the innocent killed. Still, there are some who
should die, their crimes heinous, their guilt beyond question, their only useful
purpose as a symbol of justice.
It is certainly true that people who are willing to commit heinous crimes find
lying about anything to be relatively easy. One has to approach them with
skepticism and only afford them credibility if they demonstrate consistency and
reliability over time.But at the same time, once such offenders have
been punished so they cannot harm society, engendering unforgiving hatred is an
offense against ourselves and our families. We can retain skepticism and not
embrace criminals while refusing to nurture an ongoing anger that harms only
ourselves, and does nothing to punish the offender. When we learn
that anyone we have responsibility for as a leader has committed a serious
crime, we need to ensure that justice is served and not preempt it with a
premature preemptive mercy that enables an offender to continue his crimes.
Once we have protected others from becoming his victims, we can then afford to
set about the business of offering forgiveness and teaching true and honest
Not to excuse anything that Gardner did - because his murderous acts caused
untold pain for many and that pain will continue for generations - but I have to
wonder what kind of person Gardner would have turned out to be had he been
raised in a better home - with values and support from parents and siblings.
Nurture is HUGE in how a boy matures into a man and the values (or lack thereof)
that he has. I don't believe that some are just born murderers. Take an innocent
boy and raise him right with love, support and correct teaching and the chances
are almost nil that he will turn out to be a criminal. There are always a few
exceptions but data shows that a strong family unit with mother and father and
supportive siblings will result in producing great kids. It all goes back to the
Actually opposing the death penalty you are opposing justice for the victims.
You are saying it is ok to be killed for whatever reason the person kills you,
But not ok to forfeit your life for taking someone elses. Several LDS
scriptures call for the death penalty for murder. He that Killeth shall die.
If a murderer knew he would be dead than the murder rates of innocents would go
down.YOu are not like the murdereres if you support the death
penalty for murder. It is justice.
I can understand how this story could be very painful; however, I feel I have
been reminded of some powerful lessons of making the most of each day,
forgiveness, justice, and mercy. Thank you for your article.
After many years as a mother and baby-siter(before it was daycare). I can tell
you that the child that steals and his parents justify him is the one who
becomes a theif. Every child will take something that belongs to someone else.
It is how that childs parents deal with this that makes all the difference.
Every child has encounters with animals. If Mom and Dad are kind and gentle with
animals, the child learns to be the same. If Mom and Dad are kind and gentle
with the child, the child learns this too. As a society we have the
responsibility to care for the inocent, the victims. If there are those among us
who are killers we must protect the rest of society from them. We must make the
punishment for such crimes extremely harsh.It may not deter some but, it
will others. The child that gets away with to much, thinks they are smarter then
their parents. That same adult thinks they are smarter then everyone else.
Gardner didn't "die for his crimes", he was "put to death for his
crimes". There is a difference. In the former case, the murderer accepts
the punishment and does nothing to interfere with the carrying out of justice.
In the latter, the guilty is executed by the State, notwithstanding their many
appeals to stay the punishment. In an appeal Gardner is going to try and make a
case that his punishment is not justified on at least one of several grounds.
That is not repentance or remorse folks. The fact that he was somewhat civil
only means that he had come to terms with the fact that he was going to die, not
that his death was justified. In failing to recognize the justice in his own
actions he implicitly fails to recognize the immeasurable instrinsic value of
his victims' life, and therefore irreparable harm caused by his actions. How can
one be remorseful about the victim in such cases?