Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bye, Bye, Tookie: Murderer of Four Gets His Just Desserts

By Nicholas Stix

December 13, 2005, 1:24 a.m.
Men’s News Daily

Stanley “Tookie” Williams, 51, is dead, executed only minutes ago by the State of California at San Quentin prison.

In 1979, Williams, one of the founders of the Crips street gang, murdered four people: Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang and Yee-Chen Lin. Williams murdered the four because they were witnesses to two of his robberies; he did not want any witnesses. At the time of the killings, Williams joked about the gurgling sounds one of his victims made as he died. He was convicted and sentenced to die in 1981.

A small army of political activists, celebrities, wannabe celebrities, and one corrupt politician campaigned to persuade California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant Williams clemency, but Schwarzenegger refused, asking,

Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption.

Williams’ supporters argued that he should be granted clemency and a new sentence of life without parole, instead of being executed. Their main argument was that he had turned his life around, in authoring children’s books that tell kids not to join gangs.

Abortion supporter Jesse Jackson maintained that Gov. Schwarzenegger had chosen “death over life.” Williams’ lead attorney, Peter Fleming Jr., was angry at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying, according to Chicago Tribune reporters Vincent J. Schodolski and Rudolph Bush, “If Stanley Williams does not deserve clemency, what meaning does clemency have in this state?”

Schodolski and Bush reported that USC law professor, Jody Armour, “said the governor’s decision was largely a political one. ‘It would have been an act of great political will to grant clemency.’”

Armour, who apparently does not take his irony supplements, was unaware that he had contradicted himself: Even by his own lights, the decision to grant clemency would have been “largely a political one.” But Armour’s claim is nonsense on stilts, anyway: Schwarzenegger was under no public pressure to execute Williams. Rather he was under tremendous pressure to grant him clemency. Some of the names who came out against execution were, in addition to Jesse Jackson, liberal former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, radical former California state senator, Tom Hayden, actor Jamie Foxx, rapper-ex-con-Crips member Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus), singer Joan Baez, alleged actor Mike Farrell, and even Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

Those who supported the execution included, to my knowledge, no famous names.

According to Jody Armour, the daily life of a black American consists of one insult, slight, harassment and injustice after another at the hands of whites. That is reportedly the thesis of his book, Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America. (I checked out Armour, to see whether I needed to refer to the good professor as he or a she; Armour is a privileged black man.) Armour wants the American legal system to be consciously racial. From that it would follow that he has no use for the 14th Amendment to the Constitution or the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act.

Most of Williams’ supporters demanded clemency for him because he was black and guilty as hell. You will not see them rally against the execution of white prisoners, or even prisoners who appear to be innocent.

Note too that the idea that Williams would receive “life without parole” is unrealistic. As long as a convict is alive, he may potentially receive parole and be freed. The moment Williams had received clemency, his lawyers and supporters would have begun their “Free Tookie!” campaign.

After all, the identical arguments used for clemency on Williams’ behalf are routinely trotted out to seek parole for cold-blooded killers.

In the American justice system, a jury must consider a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, before voting to convict. Many Americans mistakenly believe that the standard is “guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt”; however, Tookie Williams was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Indeed, one can only imagine how many other murders and major felonies that he, as a co-founder of the Crips, was also involved in, for which he was never charged.

Two possible exceptions to the rule among Williams’ supporters are liberal former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Republican former Illinois Gov. George Ryan. Cuomo is opposed to the death penalty on general principle, while then-Gov. Ryan, facing prosecution for alleged earlier corruption on his part as Illinois Secretary of State, in 2003 granted clemency to everyone on Illinois’ Death Row, in order to enhance his image with the public and the media, and hopefully earn himself some clemency from jurors in his own trial.

The only legitimate argument I know of against the death penalty, is the danger of executing an innocent man. But in the case of Tookie Williams, that argument is moot.

As for clemency, given the heinous nature and quantity of Williams’ crimes, to speak of clemency would be obscene, even if he had confessed to his crimes, and expressed genuine remorse, as opposed to putting on an act. There is a place for such shows of remorse: If there is a God in Heaven, and Tookie Williams should meet his Maker, he can confess his guilt and express his remorse, in hopes of obtaining the ultimate clemency.

Among Williams’ supporters outside the prison, one brandished a sign quoting Bob Marley’s “Redemption Son,”

How long shall they kill our prophets
while we stand aside and look?

Tookie Williams, a prophet?

One Fox News reporter observed that in a crowd of approximately 2,000 outside of San Quentin, only one lonely couple supported the execution. They were roughed up by humanitarian death penalty opponents, while nearby cops did nothing.

When Williams was pronounced dead at 12:35 a.m. p.s.t., his supporters reportedly jumped up and yelled that the State of California had killed an innocent man.

Most of the reporters who spoke after the execution sought to portray Williams in saintly terms – he didn’t resist, as if men about to be executed typically struggled. Adam Housley broke ranks by noting that Williams stared intently at the media, in an attempt, apparently, to intimidate them.

If Stanley “Tookie” Williams did not deserve the death penalty, what meaning does the death penalty have in that state?

1 comment:

Mal said...

"Ah, ah; eeh, eeh; tookie, tookie!"
Good riddance to this rubbish. Should have happened years ago.