Sunday, December 11, 2005

Death or Detention Stan Tookie Williams -- Our Readers Write

With or Without Tookie

Updated 12/12/2005
1:30 pm (pst)

YahooNews.com
Governor Denies Clemency



Our readers write and they are very insightful as usual. You too are invited to participate. For those of you on the email list drop me a line. For everyone else fee free to click on the "comment" link below. We have enabled features to make posting your comments much easier. Click on the word "comments" below and follow the instructions. We have enabled anonymous posting, with the caveat that this is a moderated group.

NEW POSTS

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "TOOKIE Redemption or Retribution":

I think justice certainly was done in this case. A cold-blooded murderer was exterminated from our society, albeit 20+ years late.

I also think the death penalty is a proper punishment for murders like this, where the guy murders people simply to keep them from identifying him for robbing them.

Also, unlike the crying whiners, I think revenge is a perfectl

* Paul (Via Email)
Fred, Just now I was listening to Stan Tookie Williams talking on KPFA recorded last Friday, today being Monday the day before the death sentence is to be carried out, awaiting the seemingly unstoppable movement of the death penalty.

I feel great shame for our entire society. I am ashamed to hear the blood lust given official sanction by the majority of people here in California and the United States. Those who support the death penalty have given in to the fear in their hearts that makes them want to kill the killer in the interest of ending killing. I feel that we are now in the last moments in the life of a man who went through the criminal justice system that has devolved into a narrow vehicle for revenge. We must be better than this. We have to find ways to humanize the criminal justice system. We have to find a way to redeem ourselves from this terrible decline into blood lust and murder to stop murder.

We have to stand firmly for the humanity of everyone, including those in the criminal justice system. Our task is to find ways to solve our problems, not ways to make them worse. Our task is to affirm the potential for redemption in every living soul. When we allow state executions to take place, we kill our humanity, each and every one of us and all of us as a society. We kill our ability to reach for solutions that can end the cycle of killing. And we prolong the agony of the victims of murder by creating another victim and by allowing ourselves to be blinded by the blood lust that fear creates.

Fred, thank you for helping me to get these words out of my aching heart.

Paul

* Michael: (Via Email)
Hi Fred: The governor just made his decision to allow a lethal injection to be place into Stanley's body. It will be a tremedous loss, and society will no doubt pay for his death. I hope that there is no violence, but we must wait and see. It hurts to know that this country, collectively speaking, is still too conservative, that there is no hope for reconciliation or rehabilitation, particulalry in the eyes of the penal system.

May God bless Stanley in his hour of great need.

* Scott Pearson writes : (Posted in this thread) This case points out the need for reforming how we view our penal system. It proves how rehabilitation is possible, and yet accountability is more elusive. The death penalty will take away a life that has turned out, eventually, to bring good to the world. That doesn't mean Tookie Williams should go free. Life in prison is a terrible sentence, living a life unfree. That is accountability for horrible actions judged guilty. Killing Tookie Wiliams will not make me or anyone else safer, or deter anyone or change the likelihood of further violent crime. Clemency, and the eventual ceassation of the death penalty, will allow violent criminals to be held accountable, and yet allow them to make something of value with their lives, while not getting to live a full life. That to me is the trade-off that works. Justice.

* PTCruiser said... (Posted in this thread)
Just wanted to say that I am headed to San Quentin tomorrow for what I already know will be an execution. I am disheartened but will continue to fight capital punishment until I no longer have a fight left in me.



* Paul Writes (Via Email) :

FRED, I sent the guvernator a plea for clemency. I heard he actually knew Tookie in the body building circles in LA back in the 60s. I am hoping for a miracle. Paul

* CNN
Your e-mails: Clemency for Tookie Williams?
CNN.com readers debate the fate of reformed gang leader

*ARR Writes (Posted via email) Hey, my brother- thanks. I just sent our governor an e-mail, wanted to personalize my opposition to his pending execution. I remember Geronimo Pratt, and others as well. And let us not forget about Mumia Abu-Jamal ! Man, this ___ has got to stop!!

* Shirley G. writes: (Posted on previous thread)
All my profound sympathy for those people who have been vicitmized by violent crime, and all my raw fear that I or someone I love will suffer a violent death, is not enough to bring me to support the death penalty. In my ethical universe, there is only one reason to take life, and that's to save life. That means that you are not allowed to take life because you are angry, or because you are afraid. The death penalty does not meet my ethical standard because it cannot be demonstrated that taking the lives of murderers is the only route to public safety, nor is there any evidence that having a death penalty makes the public any safer.

Sometimes I wonder if the death penalty is nothing more than a societal expression of our basic rage and fear over the fact that we all die, an attempt to rush in and manage the unmanageable, make sense of that which has no logic, namely, the fact that we all want to live, but yet our lives will be taken from us. A death by someone else's hand feels acutely unjust and horrible, but is death by cancer at 50 ultimately any less unjust and horrible? I think our societal response to violent death is driven by anger and fear at our own deaths.

I don't know if Tookie is innocent or not, but I'm clear that killing him will not make me or anybody else any safer. In fact, letting him live will probably do more to promote public safety than his death ever will. Let us not delude ourselves, let us drop all fancy talk of justice and recompense. If we kill Tookie we kill him seeking release for our rage and our terror, that's all. And aren't rage and terror the fertile ground that brings forth murder in the first place?

* From LK in Mad City: (Via Email)
Just had the urge to share this with you. A friend of mine asked how I was, and this is how I answered. Any decision on Stanley Tookie Williams yet? This is a salient opportunity (I think) to say stop the violence, to cast that very definite and essential possibility out into the winds of time, to begin to reverse to automaticness of retribution, to begin to understand that acrimony in every form fattens the snake that is around our necks - making it stronger and more intent on squeezing every ounce of air out of us and the only way to reduce its power is to stop feeding it the foods that it craves - hate appetizers, violence entrees and hate and violence dessert
.


Fred - I wanted to send something along these lines to your website, but I'm at work now so this is the best that I have to offer at the moment.

* From R
(Via Email)
tough one fred...thanks for the links. thank you for your objectivity. r


* From Vaca (Via Email)
....a japanese monk incarcerated miyamoto musashi in a cave for over a year. at the point of incarceration musashi was a crazed warrior, much like tookie. after much reflection and reading, much like tookie, he became a changed man. (musashi is considered the greatest samuri of all). he stopped fighting late in life as he tired of death and devoted the remainder of his life to writing and art. (check out the book of five rings by musashi) but i digress....... nothing is black or white. shades of grey fred. shades of grey.

* From Phil H (Via Email)
--
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is
noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience,
which is the bitterest.
~ Confucius

I agree with Confucius. And most people don't do "reflection" until it is way
too late.

-Phil H.

You can also check my "Tookie" Flickr Page (1) or "Tookie"Flickr Page (2) for more comments:

OP/ED I have received comments in several places on the Stan "Tookie" Williams Case - I am trying to consolidate most of them here. As the Governor considers the facts in this case I am very interested to hear what you think on this topic. Please if you feel like you have something to say about this case you can easily post a comment below this thread. Just click on the word "comment" in the last line.

Several people have asked me what I feel about this case it comes down to this; we have a legal system in this country that requires that guilt - especially in capital cases be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm not sure that in this case the prosecution met that standard. With all of the revelations about the conduct of the LAPD in the recent past, I think they have a very tough standard to meet. That is why I have posted links to the prosecution and the defense below.

I do believe that Mr. Williams would tell you himself that he is no choirboy and that through his actions, and the actions of his associates, many have been harmed in numerous ways -- and let's face it in fact some people have been murdered. On the other hand however these are not the crimes he was tried for. He was not tried under the RICO act or other racketeering legislation, as perhaps he should have been, he was charged under state law for murder. Having said that the murder /robberies conducted two weeks apart in 1979 netting the perpetrator a total of $160.00 are the kind of barbaric acts that rise to the level of viciousness that the death penalty, was designed to seek societal retribution for.

Given the well-documented disparity in which the death penalty is implemented, I am very reluctant to say I am a death penalty proponent. I do feel in cases like the unrepentant murderers; Tim McViegh and Richard Allen Davis (the admitted murderer of Polly Klaas) that the horrific nature of the crimes committed, are reason enough for them to forfeit their right to breathe the same air as we do. I am torn by a thoroughgoing belief that ultimately there are things for which vengeance has a place and on the other hand I am floored by the contradictory nature of killing people to teach people that killing is bad. I do believe ultimately that it is society, which has to do something to intercede in the prevention of vicious acts, or we will never get out of the spiral of families seeking justice on their own. Isn't that what groups such as the lawless gangs Mr. Williams formed did, summary justice and unending reprisal? If you or your family has never been the victim of a violent crime, then perhaps you will not understand that last riff, I hope you never will.



2 comments:

PTCruiser said...

Just wanted to say that I am headed to San Quentin tomorrow for what I already know will be an execution. I am disheartened but will continue to fight capital punishment until I no longer have a fight left in me.

Scott Pearson said...

This case points out the need for reforming how we view our penal system. It proves how rehabilitation is possible, and yet accountability is more elusive. The death penalty will take away a life that has turned out, eventually, to bring good to the world. That doesn't mean Tookie Williams should go free. Life in prison is a terrible sentence, living a life unfree. That is accountability for horrible actions judged guilty. Killing Tookie Wiliams will not make me or anyone else safer, or deter anyone or change the likelihood of further violent crime. Clemency, and the eventual ceassation of the death penalty, will allow violent criminals to be held accountable, and yet allow them to make something of value with their lives, while not getting to live a full life. That to me is the trade-off that works. Justice.

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