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Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

08 December 2005



Ok, here is an issue I am torn on.  Tookie Williams.  Awhile ago on Bluegirl in a Red State’s blog she made a comment about this and then wondered why no one commented on it.  I hadn’t because I knew nothing of it.  Now I know something.

Tookie Williams is about to get executed in California.  A more deserving candidate for death is in many ways harder to find.  He is one of the founders of the Crips gang.  AS such he is in many ways responsible for multiple deaths through direct killings and innumerable deaths from drug use, prostitution, and who knows what else.  He set up and ran an organization that has destroyed thousands of lives across the country.  He was sentenced to death for killing a few people in a robbery.
So, why is there any question about his execution?  It has to do what he has done since then.  From prison he has set up a very active anti gang organization.  One that actually seems to accomplish something unlike most groups like this.  He has written books, given speeches (via phone) been very active in trying to change and destroy the organization that he helped found.  

There was a time in my life when I would have said tough.  He did the crap so he must pay.  I still believe in the death penalty, I think there are people that deserve to die.  I have become convinced in many ways that he perhaps is not one of them.  Why?  Because I personally believe in redemption.  I guess this has a lot to do with my personal issues in the legal issues.  I have become convinced (probably for personal selfish reasons) that no person should have his or her life destroyed for one action.  I am not willing to say Mr. Williams should be set free, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep him alive for now.


Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

If you listen to the warden, there are still concerns that he is coordinating gang activity from within the prison walls.

I believe in redemption as well, however, the sentence wasn't passed on the man he is today. It was passed on the man he was and should be carried out accordingly. You have to wonder, would he be the person he is today if he HADN'T been caught?

The other issue is, he was sentenced for one particular crime, but as you pointed out, he was responsible for many others.

I give credit to the man if he truly has changed around, and hopefully, his works will help steer others clear from the type of life he lead, but I believe the sentence was appropriate, and believe me, I don't say that lightly.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Serena said...

I don't really care about if he isn't sorry or a changed man, and I don't think he should be set free; but he has become very useful and contributes in several ways to our society at large (from where he is in prison no less).
I disagree that w/ Zombie that we should even consider the fact that he is responsible for other crimes-- he was not convicted of them and therefore, he should not be held responsible. The state of california picked its battles and chose to pursue the robbery; they left it at that and so should we.
Also, I don't really care about the man he was when convicted. Regardless of whether or not he has been rehabilitated, he has proven to be one of the most effective tools against the war on gang activity. I say we keep him around. Change his sentence from death to life (behind bars), and allow him to continue his work.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

To me, it really comes down to a couple of things.

The first is whether we as a society want our prisons to be places of reform or just a place to dump people. If your kid does something wrong, you punish the transgression to teach them not to do whatever it was they did. There wouldn't be much point to it if you were just grounding them for life and not allowing them to learn to behave.

The second issue is the death penalty. Since there are more violent crimes now than when there was a ban on the death penalty (even when adjusted for changes in the population), it's probably safe to say that it isn't acting as the deterent that many advocates claim. Seperate studies of states with similar makeups, but with one having the death penalty and one not having it, show that there's no decrease in the murder rate in the states with the death penalty.

All that said, I guess you could say I'm not for the death penalty in most cases and this one in particular, and I also believe that there's something wrong with a country that has the one of the highest, or the highest prison population in the world.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I, like you, believe in redemption, but I am concerned when the man still has never acknowleged the crime or specifically any of the other wrongs he admits in generalities. In other words redemption requires (for those of you who don't like religious terminology i apologize) repentence. I don't think redemption is about "doing good" alone, it must include acknowlegement of the criminal act and a request for forgiveness.
For Shawn a clarification, there has never been a "ban" on the death penalty, though there was a brief hiatus until the Supreme Court dealt with a couple of issues relating to the death penalty. I also dispute the allegation that there is something "wrong" about a high prison population. There are too many flaws in statistical comparisons with other countries. Effective police work, different definitions of "crime", etc.
I lived for a while in a country that had some of the strongest restrictions on firearms in the world but had one of the highest murder rates. Some US conservatives would blame the murder rate on the gun restrictions, but Like the high prison rates, there was(and is) no clear correlation between the statistics and the conclusions (Who was it that said "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics"?

5:54 PM  
Blogger European said...

I don't know much about Williams, so I'm not sure if he "deserves" a second chance. What I do know is that the fact that a civilized country such as this still kills prisoners makes me sick. I just don't think it's up to us to decide who gets to live and who doesn't, be the crime ever so horrid.
The prison system and the justice system need a major overhaul...

11:31 PM  

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