Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie Williams to Die Early Tuesday

From ABC News:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to block the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams, rejecting the notion that the founder of the murderous Crips gang had atoned for his crimes and found redemption on death row.


But Schwarzenegger suggested Monday that Williams' supposed change of heart was not genuine, noting that the inmate had not owned up to his crimes or shown any real remorse for the countless killings committed by the Crips.

"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote less than 12 hours before the execution. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."
What a horrible thing. As I mentioned previously I am categorically against the death penalty, as I see it as nothing more than a state-sanctioned revenge murder. Leaving aside that, evidence points to Williams having realized the horrible harm his actions as a youth had wrought as he worked to turn children away from gang life.

Did Williams commit the murders he was convicted for? He says no and there is a possibility that the case against him was flawed. Is he in some way responsible for the murders that were committed by a gang that he started? I say: yes. The chances are pretty damned good that, even if he didn't commit the four murders in 1979, he may have killed others. Should Williams have been released? No. And I haven't heard that anyone asking he be granted clemency demand that he be released. Only that his sentence be commuted to life without parole.

But he shouldn't die. If his actions since his first children's book isn't evidence of trying to redeem himself and to better the lives of at-risk youth around the world, then what is? What is sufficient proof for Schwarzenegger? Wailing and begging and self-flagellation? From what I can tell, that wasn't Williams' style.

If nothing he's done shows that he's redeemed himself, then what does the word redemption mean to our governor and the courts? Apparently nothing. Which means that everyone in prison hasn't got a chance in hell of redeeming themselves anyway, so why not just kill all of them? Why even try for appeals? If we're going to kill one, why not kill them all?

What's that? You say that's barbaric?

My point exactly. In my mind there are only three instances in which murder is acceptable: defense of one's self, defense of one's loved ones, and true defense of one's country (not the obscenity currently happening in Iraq). But even those instances don't change the fact that murder is barbaric.

No matter the victim. No matter the perpetrator.

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