in case you missed it | Life is as cheap as a tweet


Life is as cheap as a tweet

Last Thursday, Utah’s attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, demonstrated the cheapness of human life when he used his Twitter account, @MarkShurtleff, to announce that he’d decided to go ahead with the execution of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner.

Using his iPhone, he summed up his decision like this: “I just gave the go ahead to the Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner’s execution. May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims.”

(Quipped NPR’s blog, The Two- Way: “That’s supposed to be @God, isn’t it?”) It’s tempting to think that Shurtleff tweeted about this because having the power to choose life or death for another human being bothered him and he sought redemption through public confession. But that’s unlikely.

Still he should remember this: Both he and the state of Utah had the ability to grant Gardner the very mercy that Shurtleff called upon so publicly.

It’s sad to see that human life has become so cheap that the decision to execute a man requires only 140 characters these days.

Let him scrub pelicans

If you’re BP CEO Tony Hayward, life is sweet. Your company can be responsible for 11 people’s deaths and one of the biggest ecological disasters in human history, and there’s still time in your life to watch your 52-foot yacht compete in a ritzy yacht race.

Yes, that’s what he did. Fresh off saying he wanted to resolve the oil spill problem so that he could have his life back — that took a lot of gall, considering those 11 dead BP employees will never get their lives back — Hayward took a day off and spent a little miniholiday watching his yacht “Bob” race against other yachts off the south coast of England.

“Crass bastard” doesn’t even begin to describe this guy.

The man’s behavior is so inexcusably callous that BP has removed him from representing the company when it comes to the oil spill. This probably gives Hayward exactly what he wanted — less time answering annoying questions about the oil spill and more time pursuing the kinds of meaningless activities that are popular with the criminally rich.

BP made a lame attempt to stand up for their boss, explaining that this was Hayward’s first day off since the deep-sea rig exploded on April 20. But excuse us if we don’t care. Hayward doesn’t deserve a moment’s rest until he’s spent a few months suited up, scrubbing dying seabirds, cleaning oil off the beach and comforting those who’ve lost income, livelihoods and loved ones.

What rapists deserve

A South African doctor has devoted 40 years of her life to finding a way to give rapists what they deserve, and finally she’s come up with something: a female condom with “teeth.”

Dr. Sonnet Ehlers, who began this quest after caring for a devastated rape victim in the hospital, has developed a tool that provides rapists with instant justice. The device, called Rape-aXe, is a latex condom lined with jagged rows of teeth-like hooks that attach to the rapist’s weapon of choice — his penis — and which cannot be removed without the help of a doctor.

If he tries to yank it off, the teeth bite deeper. Oh, the beauty of it!

“It hurts,” Ehlers told CNN. “And he cannot pee or walk when it’s on.”

Ehlers says she hopes that police will be standing by while the devices are removed, ready to arrest the perpetrators.

Not all women’s advocates are excited about Ehlers’ invention. Some say the device makes women a slave to fear, and others say it will leave women subject to additional violence at the hands of their attackers.

But South African women — like women in Uganda’s IDP camps, in wartorn Somalia and so many other places — already live their lives in constant fear of rape. South Africa’s rape rate is more than twice that of the United States.

The announcement prompted posts on the Internet from folks suggesting that these women should carry guns instead of walking around with armored vaginas. They say that a bullet to the head would provide better justice than a painful Chinese penis puzzle. That’s a nice idea — except that women as desperately poor as these simply don’t have access to firearms. That’s part of what makes them so vulnerable.

Ehlers hopes to distribute the devices for about $2 each.

She deserves the Nobel Prize. Respond: