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Musings on the Death Penalty

I’ve never been opposed to the death penalty.  All of this media coverage surrounding the execution of Crips co-founder Stanley Williams does have me thinking about it—but not in a change-my-mind sort of way. 
I don’t believe that there are hundreds of wrongly condemned people men out there.  I do believe that there are way too many people who are guilty of crimes that get off on legal loopholes, procedural errors and dumb luck.  I question our legal system that there are people who fall into either of those categories.  I do think that virtually everyone on death row did it.  I’m angered that my tax dollars go toward the living expenses of these people and that they get to spend years appealing—not usually under the circumstances that evidence was mistreated or missing, but that some goof up during their trial should lead to a mistrial.   It bugs me that so little thought is given to the victims and those that are left behind.
So, back to Stanley "Tookie" Williams and the celebrities who think that co-authoring some children’s books should be enough to erase four murders that this man bragged about committing; never mind that he co-founded one of the worse gangs in the country who are responsible for even more deaths.  I can’t believe that anyone would come forward and defend this man and say that he doesn’t deserve to die. 

I wonder how many of them have researched or read the whole story behind this headline-grabbing case?  They know he was convicted of killing four people. But do they know his victims' names? Do they know anything about the 26-year-old store clerk and how he was forced him to kneel to the ground before he was shot twice in the back?  Do the celebrities care at all that the victim left behind two daughters. Has Snoop Dog—himself a former Crip- held a fundraiser for them?
Does Mike Farrell, Susan Sarandon, Bianca Jagger and Joan Baez know that Williams said he killed that clerk because he was white or that he laughed at the way his victim struggled for breath after he was shot?  He also killed three Asian immigrants in their motel and bragged that he “blew away the Buddhaheads?”  One of them was 43 and had half her face blown off but lived in agony for a few hours before dying?  What kind of mercy was shown to them?  None of them did anything to deserve to die but Williams killed them anyway.  And all evidence says that he did it. 

These are not accusations. They're facts, proved at a trial that presented truly overwhelming evidence (including damning statements by accomplices, relatives and passersby) of Tookie Williams' guilt. Yet Williams himself has never admitted what he did, instead blaming his convictions a racist plot—my least favorite accusation and one that bristles people of all colors.  It’s so easy an accusation to make and impossible to prove.  Still, four people are dead. 

Somehow all of this is supposed to be mitigated by the idea that he wrote some children’s books?   The man didn’t write the books himself—they’re co-authored.  Something that usually means someone else wrote it but it was decided they’d be more profitable and more lucrative if the name of some famous gangbanger was attached. 
I have to ask, can anyone prove that one of these books stopped a single kid from joining a gang?  Are the kids who are susceptible to joining a gang paying the $20 to read one of these books?
So I think Schwarzenegger did the right thing.  He reviewed the case.  He didn’t see redemption, only angry accusations and a search to point the finger of blame elsewhere.  I think that Governor Terminator showed extreme bravery in standing up to the celebrity peer pressure put upon him by his colleagues.  I think the world is a better place without Stanley Tookie Williams.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
While I don't theoretically agree with the death penalty, I do think that since it is there, no special treatment should be allowed for supposedly mitigating circumstances like the ones you listed.

Another thing that bugs me (and happens a lot here; we have the death penalty too) is people getting clemency because they become born-again Christians in jail. It doesn't matter if they do good things for the poor when they're in jail. And becoming any other religion won't do you any good, either.
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it seems like Jesus sure does hang out in prisons a lot, doesn't it? I don't believe in getting clemency for anything once you've been convicted. If you committed the crime then you have to pay your debt to society-- there shouldn't be an easy way out.
Dec. 14th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC)
Speaking of this particular topic, I just saw an article saying that Couey, the guy that killed Jessica Lunsford (she was all over the national news so you may have heard of her) admitted to police in 1991 that he molested his stepdaughter but that he had accepted Jesus as his personal savior and so it wouldn't happen again.
Dec. 14th, 2005 07:39 am (UTC)
There goes Juli. Always saying it way better than I could ever dream! :)

I actually didn't even know all those facts re: the case. How did you know all that? It's very insightful. Of course, I knew the victims names and such. I have laughed for years about his Nobel Prize nomination. People are so dumb they don't realize ANYONE can be nominated! It's an easy thing to do! And I've heard that the books he co-authored are ridiculous and better suited for articles in a teen 'zine.

Yes, the victims are who we should be thinking of and not Tookie.

I am wondering though... you go from saying he "bragged" about the murders and then say he never admitted what he did. I always thought he maintained his innocence throughout. I'd love to know that at some point he really did brag and admit.

Dec. 14th, 2005 07:41 am (UTC)
And good for him for "writing" childrens books. That's what people in prison SHOULD do with their time. However, doesn't mean you're changed or we should forget why you wound up there.
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
Re: P.s.
Dec. 14th, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC)
I read a lot about the case on the Web because it annoys me when celebrities take up these causes that make no sense-- like that guy Mumia a few years ago.

Apparently there were witnesses at the trial who said he bragged to them about the murders-- one of which, I believe, was his brother. He never admitted to the murders in court. I guess before he was caught, he thought he'd never gt caught.

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )