Monday, December 05, 2005

TOOKIE Redemption or Retribution

TOOKIE Redemption or Retribution

TOOKIE Redemption or Retribution
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Judge William R. Pounders has set Dec. 13 as the execution date for Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Williams the former head of LA's notorious Crips gang, is set to die by lethal injection at California's San Quentin Prison . The only person standing in the way of his imminent death is Arnold "the Terminator" Schwarzenegger - celebrity governor of California. The governor has agreed to a private parole hearing scheduled for December 8, 2005.

The flow of information on both banks of the political river is rapid and sometimes very treacherous to navigate. If you do nothing else I would strongly advise that you take the time to read the briefs that I link to below. At least with that you will not fall victim to half digested sound bites. Further down I have linked some articles both pro and con for you to read this week as we move to Schwarzenegger's clemency decision.

Clemency case for and against please see below for details:

Stanley Tookie Williams' Clemency Petition

LA County District Attorney's response to
Stanley Williams' petition for Executive Clemency

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633

Governor's Email

This all started when I got an email a few weeks ago about Stan "Tookie" Williams, the founder of the CRIPS, asking me to sign the on line petition. It caused me to do quite a bit of soul searching. At issue minimally, the death penalty for four murders that Williams claims he is innocent of. In addition to the murder case however a set of assunptions that trail the former head of a violent street gang culpability for thousands of violent crimes - including murder .

In the intervening years from the original murder convictions, Stan Willliams claims that he has been transformed by a redemptive process and has atoned for his sins. To this point he has written 10 books for youth on the futility of a gang lifestyle. e has alos developed a protocol to enable gangs to develop a truces. In the time since I first recieved the email and now I have been reading listening and watching the news trying to understand this complex issue. The choice that we as a society must now make is layered and complex. Despite the pundits easy to swallow words - this is no ordinary case. There is real irony here a man charged with murders he claims to have not committed and a gang leader who in his time fathered one of the most lethal gangs in history. What of the vitims of the original crime - what justice do they receive?

I’d be interested in what you think about the death penalty in general and this case in particular. Use your name first/last both or an alias. I’d also be interested in publishing a couple of paragraphs of yours if you feel like you really have something you want to say. It is simple post your comments below.

Some resources:

The main support sites:

General Information:
Stan Tookie Williams

Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story
Movie Starring Jamie Foxx

Articles & Op-Ed:
Mother Jones News
Tookie Williams: Showing His True Colors

Stanley "Tookie" Williams, Co-Founder of the Crips, Faces Execution In December
Look at the discussion thread below article

LA Times
L.A. Officers Urge 'No Mercy' for Tookie Williams
Why a “Tookie” Williams?

The Christian Science Monitor's View
Let 'Tookie' live for the good he's doing

Had Tookie Been A Klansman

The Nation
The Fight to Save Stanley Tookie Williams

Independent Woman's Forum
Justice for Tookie Williams!

National Review
Justice For Tookie

Democracy Now!
A Conversation with Death Row Prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams from his San Quentin Cell
Bush's Tookie
Remembering Bush's worst public moment.

San Francisco Chronicle
Questions of redemption, atonement and clemency swirl as Stanley Tookie Williams’ execution date approaches

The many facets of Tookie Williams

Michelle Malkin

Mercy for Tookie Williams

Fry Tookie

USA Today
Why 'Tookie' Williams deserves clemency

Pacific News Service
Tookie Williams Case Dominates Black Press

Human Events Online
Right Angle
Don't Grant 'Tookie' Clemency

MSNBC Scarbourough County
Debating the defense of 'Tookie' Williams
Actor Farrell and talk show host Sliwa discuss fate of Crips founder
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
-Physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
-Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)
It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day
for lack of what is found there.
-William Carlos Williams Poet (1883-1963)


Shirley G. said...

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.

People often speak of "paying for one's crime" when they speak in support of the death penalty. This property metaphor is rather interesting, because it implies that somehow recompense can be made when a life is taken. When you take property, recompense is possible, but when you take a life, no recompense is possible. The death penalty strikes me as a way of avoiding a horrible truth; an innocent person has been killed, and there's no undoing that fact. The challenge for those left behind is to learn to accept the fact of this wretched loss, and killing the person responsible will not change the fact of the enormous, daily burden of grief that must somehow be shouldered.

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?

Anonymous said...

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 perfectly proper motive for the death penalty. Whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not, is irrelevant; it is justifiable on pure justice grounds.

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