On The Death Penalty 12.13.2005

Warden: Williams frustrated at end
SAN QUENTIN, California (CNN) -- Death did not come quickly for Stanley Tookie Williams, the co-founder of the violent Crips street gang who was executed by lethal injection early Tuesday for the 1979 robbery murders of four people in Los Angeles.

Witnesses and prison officials said Williams appeared to grow impatient as prison staffers searched for several minutes for a vein in his muscular left arm.

Authorities began the process to administer the lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. (3:01 a.m. ET) in the execution chamber at San Quentin. His death was announced 34 minutes later.

Let me be clear on something: I personally oppose the death penalty. It's not for theological reasons; the Bible's injunctions towards morality apply to individual morality and not to the "morality" of the State--which the Bible (through imagry of "Babalon", allusions to the laws of Rome, etc.) tend to disregard as the mechanisms of something beyond the concerns of the majority of individuals the Bible is targeted towards. But it is for the simple practical reason that Death is Final, and errors in applying the law equally cannot be undone when someone is six feet under.

However, I do not understand the support that Stanley "Tookie" Williams garnished from people these past few weeks. The founder of one of the most dangerous gangs in the world (a gang whose 30-year string of violence has only recently been eclipsed by Al Qaeda) and the murderer of four people in two separate crime sprees was basically elevated to sainthood by Black leaders and members of the NAACP--and the only thing they could hang their hat on was not public atonement (there was none) but a string of children's books that were ghost-written by Barbara Becnel, and which target the wrong age group and are thus ineffective at their stated goal.

(And with all due respect to "Tookie" supporters: have you seen the covers of those books? They seem as much about glorifying Tookie Williams than they are about teaching the children. See the above link and check out the cover's depliction of a "saintly" Tookie overlooking some young, presumably innocent child.)

Now I can understand opposing the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams on the grounds of a general opposition to the death penalty. But many of the people opposing last night's execution were doing so fundamentally on the grounds that writing a bunch of children's books somehow negates the slaughter of four people and the founding of the modern Crips gang. That is, they were not opposing the death penalty per se, only opposing the execution of "Tookie"--and thus denegrating real opposition to the death penalty.

Let's be clear: Saint "Tookie" has never claimed to not have killed his four victims; only that he is innocent of the charge that landed him the needle last night. There is a great gap between proclaiming innocence against a specific California Penal code, and not killing someone whom "Tookie" referred to as "Buddha-heads." No only has "Tookie" never apologized for these people's deaths, nor claimed he never killed them (only that he was innocent of the charges), but he has denegrated them--and yet he claims to have been redeemed, solely on the basis of writing some children's books.

This was the basis of his clemency request: not innocence, but personal redemption--a weak claim to make, given that he has never apologized or even suggested empathy towards his victims.

It's no wonder it was turned down by the Governor.

Sadly the biggest thing that was destroyed in the celebrity-parade over "Tookie" was the cause of the anti-death penalty advocates, who found their cause hijacked and their arguments negated.

posted by William Woody at 10:01 AM

How refreshing to find a thougtful and reasoned voice of comment in the midst of so many unreasoned voices.

Bill Woody, No Blog, USA

Anonymous Anonymous at 3:37 PM  

Thanks; you're very kind.
Blogger William Woody at 6:55 PM  

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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