Monday, December 12, 2005


I'm writing this less than an hour before Tookie Williams is scheduled to be executed, but I just wanted to say a few words. Basically, I agree with Mr. Balloon Juice here that I oppose the death penalty, but I don't see anything exceptional about Stanley "Tookie" Williams's case that would be cause for granting him clemency unless you were prepared to give it to everybody, or nearly everybody on death row. And yes, for the record, I would commute everyone on California's death row's sentence to life in prison. There is no reason for the state to kill people when it can remove them from society by locking them up for life instead.

But that's not the argument most of his supporters are making. They're saying that somehow writing a few children's books and brokering a not-particularly-successful gang truce makes up for brutally and deliberately murdering four completely innocent people and starting the Crips. (Actually, a few folks, apparently emboldened by the awards given to Henry Kissinger and Yasir Arafat, even thought this was somehow worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.) I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap. The guy never expressed any remorse for his crimes (although of course, that's something of a "well, if she's a witch, she'll float, and then we'll burn her" aspect to that) and never even helped out the police by informing on any other members of his gang. The jury found him guilty, and there's never been much of a case made for his innocence, at least as far as I can tell. So he's a scumbag who lightened up a bit and tried to at least do something positive with his life. That's nice, and I can't look into a man's heart, but from all appearances he still looks guilty.

Nevertheless he's a human being who is going to die having committed some heinous crimes, and so I will say a prayer for him, guilty or not.


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