Reale Simple

The world is more than what they tell you. Listen up. It's not complex. It's Reale Simple.

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Former USCHO writer, former writer at a Midwestern broadsheet, occassional CHN blogger.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Free Tookie? Where?

The most recent example of a "cause celebre" to come down the line has become Stanley Tookie Williams (Tookie is his actual middle name), a thug gangster who started the infamous Crips gang and who is set to die in California's death chamber tonight at San Quentin.

To hear the Hollywood glitterati describe Williams, you would think that he is a kind and gentle person who wouldn't harm a flea. He's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, you see, for his generosity toward others and his work in stopping gang violence on the streets from his prison cell. What they won't tell you is that Tookie Williams brutally murdered 4 innocent people in Los Angeles in cold blood. They won't tell you that the evidence proving his guilt is overwhelming. They won't tell you that he has never once admitted to his crimes or shown any remorse for them. They won't tell you that during his first several years in prison he was extremely violent towards guards and other prisoners. About the time that it sunk in that he was going to pay for his crimes with his life, he started to wise up and play nice.

I'm against the death penalty, but I'm also against breaking the rule of law. Williams has neglected to do the one thing that ought to be required in order to recieve clemency in a case where the evidence was so overwhelming as it was in this one - admit guilt and show remorse. Given that these killings were exceptionally violent against innocent people, and that he hasn't shown one ounce of remorse, I feel California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did the right thing by denying clemency. I may be against the death penalty, but California law allows it, and a jury convicted him and handed down the ultimate penalty. That decision can't just be overturned because someone doesn't like it. That's not what the foundation of law is built on.

The key to abolishing the death penalty is not to simply grant clemency to all who request it. The key is demonstrating the cruel and unusual nature of the death penalty as a means of punishment, along with the economic reasons for doing away with it. Also key is proving the innocence of people who actually were wrongly convicted and sentenced to die - none of this "Free Mumia" or "Free Tookie" garbage. Just because a person doesn't deserve to be killed at the hands of their government doesn't mean these people are not still evil and should at least rot in jail for the rest of their lives.

You can't just suddenly turn your life around in order to be spared. While that's important, Tookie left out the most important part of all - that he killed four innocent people. The fight goes on to stop capital punishment, but I'm not going to shed any tears for this guy.

Yet still, we have people like Mike Farrell - you know, the guy from M*A*S*H - calling Schwarzenegger a "coward" and that his reply to the request for clemency was "garbage." He also criticized him for not going to meet with Williams, as if the governor of the largest state in the union didn't have better things to be doing today than meeting with an unapologetic murderer and asking him his opinion on whether he should be put to death or not.

Truth is, Williams only became a "cause celebre" because he himself is a celebrity - a title anyone who writes literature while on Death Row can now claim for themselves. One also has to wonder which of Williams' actions had more of an impact on gang violence in this country - speaking out against it from prison, or starting one of the most notorious and violent gangs in the nation's history, a gang which now spreads from coast to coast.

Oh, and that Nobel Prize thing? He may have been nominated for a Nobel Prize, but odds are poor that he was ever considered for one. I could be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. All someone would have to do is send my name to the committee that votes on the winner. Even Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at one point. Is this why this man deserves clemency?

For opponents of the death penalty, there are better cases to hold up than Tookie Williams.

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