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Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

Countdown to execution.

Bump and Update: The Supreme Court has denied Stanley "Tookie" Williams request for a stay of execution. He will die at 12:01 am tonight (Tuesday Morning).

Update: Mike Petrelis has Schwarzegger's five page statement of denial of clemency.

Beautiful Horizens finds a death penalty dissent by Justice Marshall.

Sean Paul at the Agonist: "What requires more courage: revenge or forgiveness?"

Susan Hu of Booman Tribune at Daily Kos:

What matters for me is that murdering Tookie solves nothing, makes the United States look barbaric to the rest of the world, and destroys Tookie's future chances to influence more young people against entering the gang life. And his execution may cause terrible suffering in Los Angeles, which needs another race riot like it needs another earthquake.

Keep scrolling down below to read updated reactions from organizations, bloggers and others.

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Original Post: Arnold Denies Clemency for Stanley "Tookie Williams":

It's official. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency to Stanley "Tookie" Williams. He made the announcement by e-mail. portion:

I could find no justication for granting clemency.....there is no reason to second guess the jury's decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservations about Williams' convictions and death sentence."

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, which is unlikely, he will die at 12:01 a.m. tonight.

My view: A purely political decision and an unbelievably disappointing one, for the reasons I last stated here in a message to Arnold.

Clemency is about mercy. It is an act of grace. You have the opportunity to stop a needless killing. Tookie's execution will not bring the victims back. It will not heal. The welfare of the people of California is best served by the message clemency would send -- one of hope to the tens of thousands of disadvantaged young people your administration has professed to care so deeply about. A denial of clemency will send a message of despair.

You hold a human life in your hand. We've seen enough killing. Please choose life for Tookie.

I am so sick of hearing the ex-prosecutor legal analysts on tv saying the evidence against him was so strong without mentioning it was from jailhouse informants and others with an incentive to lie. People should read the clemency petition and reply.

Attytood on Why Tookie Should Live

To truly oppose the death penalty, one must oppose it not just for the innocent or the remorseful, but for the most vile scum among us. The idea of a government taking someone's life is offensive to our core religious beliefs -- and most likely to yours as well. A so-called Christian fundamentalist who supports capital punishment is going through more twists than a South Philly pretzel. Even the Pope -- and maybe even Rick Santorum -- can get this one right.

Beyond that, there is no practical reason to kill Tookie Williams. It won't bring back Albert Owens, Yen-Yi Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang or Yee-Chen Lin. There's no evidence that capital punishment is a serious deterrent to murder. It costs more of our tax dollars and yours to execute someone like Tookie Williams than it does to keep him locked up.

Also check out the Center for Wrongful Convictions which has a report on innocent people sentenced to death row based on testimony provided by those with an incentive to lie -- snitch testimony:

The report highlights 51 cases of Americans who were wrongfully convicted and given death sentences based on the testimony of witnesses with incentives to lie. According to the Center, snitch testimony is the primary cause for approximately 45% of all wrongful capital convictions, making it the leading problem resulting in innocent people being sent to death row.

Update: More reactions:

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP):

“By every account, Mr. Williams has sought to make amends for the
harm that he has caused and indeed may have done as much or more to
stem the tide of violence than many who say this is their concern,”
Rust-Tierney continued. “A system which has no room for rehabilitation, no room for mercy regardless of the extraordinary contributions that an individual has made is not a system that we can square with our other values. If this execution proceeds, we will be saddened but not deterred. This is all the more reason to push forward to end the death penalty.”

A TalkLeft reader from England who had trouble logging in to comment:

I wish to record my abhorrence of the state murder of a person, no matter what he has done. In justice, the governor of the state should, as the person to confirm the sentence, be the only person who kills Tookie. I look forward to his next film. CGK

Amnesty International:

By refusing to stay Williams’ execution, Gov. Schwarzenegger has failed to demonstrate genuine leadership on this issue. In his prepared statement, he said that he was placing his trust in California’s criminal justice system, which the Senate Commission is currently investigating. Last year, the legislative body recognized the pervasive flaws plaguing the system and tasked the Commission with discovering and exposing the potentially lethal errors and bias that have metastasized throughout the state’s administration of the death penalty.

As California’s highest-ranking public official, Gov. Schwarzenegger has an obligation to guarantee that all of the state’s laws are applied equally to everyone—even people on death row. But today, he abandoned that responsibility and left the more than 640 death row inmates to fend for themselves in the state’s broken system. According to the Santa Clara Law Review, California’s death penalty system is incapable of providing equal protection because it lacks “… the basic safeguards to avoid capricious, erroneous, and discriminatory application of the death penalty.”

James Wolcott:

The death penalty must be abolished. No former movie action hero--or Yale cheerleader with enough psychological baggage to sink the African Queen--should be entrusted with the power of life and death over his fellow citizens. These are essentially frivolous, uninformed men playacting blue-suited roles of grave responsibility. And, no, I don't think Bill Clinton should have executed Ricky Ray Rector either. Capital punishment must be de-politicized, and as long as politicians make the final decision, depoliticization is impossible. So abolish it.

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    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    I was wrong. I called it the other way. The Terminator fulfills his nickname to a surreal degree. Hyper-real is more like it. I'm worried about my hometown. I hope L.A. stays peaceful. But when the state kills as "justice" it's hard to find the silver lining.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    And, lest I forget, by EMAIL??? WTF, stand up and be a leader, take the slings and arrows that come with the decision. Why not just execute him by drone missle too?

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#3)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    Dadler, I was wrong too, I figured Arnold wouldn't have the stones to go through with it.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    Patrick, On the previous Tookie thread you wrote "I'd avoid South Central". While I certainly understand what you mean, I think the larger problem is we've ALL avoided South Central for far too long. Lemme know if you hear about any sh*t going down? I have family and friends all over town, in every kind of neighborhood.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#5)
    by caramel on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    The governator lives up to his reputation, so it seems. This is a very sad sign for the future and for the next two execution dates. American justice is showing its true face to the world. What a sad state of affairs! Let's hope peace will prevail...

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#6)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    LAPD got almost two hours notice. I'm sure that was for a tac alert

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#7)
    by nolo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    There are a lot of things about this that are sad. Of them, the one that strikes me is this: Denying clemency in this case sends the message that there can be no redemption. Of course, the death penalty as a whole sends this message. But in this case, the message is extremely clear.

    et al.... The welfare of the people of California is best served by the message clemency would send The message that you can murder 4 people and not pay the price? one of hope to the tens of thousands of disadvantaged young people your administration has professed to care so deeply about. What hope? That you can murder 4 people and hope to have your death sentence overturned? A denial of clemency will send a message of despair. Dispair???? Of what? No..it will send a message that if you commit muder.... you might end up getting the ax for it!

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#9)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    The impending riots will probably be used to justify more "tough on crime" hoodoo. And to accuse anti-death-penaltists of something like complicity.

    Yet another pointless, senseless murder. Shame on the murderer who gets off free from personal responsibility (Schwartzenegger).

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#11)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    I was always taught in my catholic education that 1 heinous crime does not justify another. If the act of purposely taking an innocent life is indeed heinous (as I believe it is) then it remains heinous if the state does it. The idea that life in prison without parole is not paying a price is ludicrous on its face. But to the wrong wingers human life is and of itself cheap and unimportant. They are exclusionists who view only their lives as important and spend much of their time justify ways to lower the value of the lives of others whether its a criminal, a muslim, the poor liberals, etc. Their rhetoric betrays their self-rightous proclamations because deep inside they have no soul, no conscience and are deeply afraid. So they build the value of themselves up by destroying others. If one accepts all their talk at face value its difficult to find a common underlying worth that binds all humanity making us better than a large band of rabid jackels. Its a bleak and dark vision I refuse to accept.

    The State (or the gov't, if you prefer) should not be in the business of murder. It should not. It is wrong. Whom does it help to put this human to death? Whom?

    Thanks for the governor, J.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#14)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    If life was cheap and unimportant, there would be no appeals. Since we've spent 25 years holding Mr Williams, and only now do these people who hold life so dear come forward, says something about them too.

    Poor, poor multiple murderer. My heart bleeds...for his victims.

    I just recently began to get into politics and I wondered if someone could clear up some terms for me. Clemency, does that mean that they are pardoned from the execution and serve life in prison instead or that they are freed completely? Also, when they say that an execution is stayed, does this mean it was temporarly put off or permanently put off?

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#17)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    BB, having a death sentence commuted to life in prison is not equivalent to "not paying the price". If Williams was preaching not to resort to violence (so effectively that he was commended by Bush), I wonder how many lives he has saved?

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#18)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    Someone with the notoriety of Williams would not be punished by serving life in GP. In fact, he would be free to "Change" again, back into what he was, and rule from inside. If clemency allowed the gov to change their mind if Williams became less than a model prisoner, I would be all for it.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    ďYou have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also dead, dead to the world and its hopes. In me didst thou exist, and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine, how utterly thou hast murdered thyselfĒ --Edgar Allen Poe, from ďWilliam WilsonĒ

    soccerdad... If the act of purposely taking an innocent life is indeed heinous (as I believe it is) then it remains heinous if the state does it. The key word there is "innocent"... unfortunately your boy Tookie (what a cutsie name for a cold blooded murderer) does not fall into that catagory! ern... Poor, poor multiple murderer. My heart bleeds...for his victims. Yes..too bad all these bleeding hearts weren't around for the victims of this animal! Al... BB, having a death sentence commuted to life in prison is not equivalent to "not paying the price". The sentence handed down was death! That's his price....

    Wow! Having learned this I feel sooo much safer knowing that the likelihood of me or mine being murdered has been so dramatically lessened.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#22)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Dan, Well, I guess if your family was somehow connected to Stanley you'd be right. If you have information about his crime, or are related to one of the victims, you will be alot safer once he's gone.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#23)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    If life was cheap and unimportant, there would be no appeals. Since we've spent 25 years holding Mr Williams, and only now do these people who hold life so dear come forward, says something about them too.
    A bogus argument on its face. Killing is a heinous crime. [BB I remove the word Innocent and stand by it, the only justification is immediate self defense]. Its that simple. We are not god, or is life that cheap to you, not your life but everyone's life

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#24)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Someone with the notoriety of Williams would not be punished by serving life in GP. In fact, he would be free to "Change" again, back into what he was, and rule from inside. If clemency allowed the gov to change their mind if Williams became less than a model prisoner, I would be all for it.
    Bogus yet again, as if there are no other means of handling prisoners. Am I to accept that the system is so utterly incompentant that it can not prevent a prisoner from running a gang from inside a maximum security prison.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#25)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    It's a bogus argument because you say so? I don't consider life cheap, nor was the process which the state went through proving his guilt inexpensive. His death may protect persons in the future or it may not.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#26)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    You argument is logically flawed. Either life is not cheaop or it is or your god/ Don't like it tough. Its interesting that the wrong wingers coming here telling us we are wrong or dont understand anyting or are unpatriotic etc and then whine when we fight back.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#27)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Cheap is not meant here in the monetary sense or is that the extent of your undertanding?

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#28)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Cheap is not meant here in the monetary sense or is that the extent of your undertanding?
    Which is why I used it in the context I did, or is that the extent of your understanding? Ahh, the vagaries of the English language.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimcee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Life is cheap, just read a little history and you'll know that is true. As far as 'Tookie' is concerned if he didn't want to be executed for the murder of four innocent people then he should have 1) either not have killed anyone in the first place or 2) killed those people in a state that has no death penalty. He knew that Califoria had the death penalty and it didn't stop him from his horrific deeds. If he didn't know it? Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Heck it didn't even stop him from making fun of his victims as they died. He is a cold blooded killer and now he will pay with his life. Too bad the celebrities and Tookie sympathizers do not have the same compassion for his victims as they have for this barbarous murderer. And all for $120. As I said earlier, life is cheap.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    SD - "Execution" is not "murder." et al - I confess to hold no firm position on capital punishment. I believe if there is any doubt then the state should use LWOP. In this case I do not believe there is any doubt, and this is review after review. And yes. I believe this is a state sponsored act of revenge for the families. "As you sow, so shall ye reap."

    The state of California has chosen to include the death penalty as a sentencing option, and the governor would be thwarting the will of the majority if he stopped the implementation of something they explicitly said they wanted, just because he disagrees with that majority about whether it's the right thing to do. An argument that he should stand on his own principle when it is in conflict with the will of the majority of voters can only be free of hypocrisy if you are willing to accept his standing on his principle when it differs drastically from a majority position that you agree with. I suspect the majority of commenters here respect his standing on principle only when the outcome meets their own desires. And the gov'r is also correct about Tookie's supposed "redemption". Admitting and regretting wrongdoing are necessary precursors to redemption in any discussion of it I've ever heard, and the best I can tell the only thing Tookie regrets is that he's in prison. He has not admitted to the killings and thus cannot be engaged in "redemptive" acts - redemption is by definition a sacrificial seeking to alleviate the harm caused by the admitted wrongdoing. All Tookie has apparently done is taken the advice of people with a plan for getting him out from under the death penalty. What sacrifice did he make? Writing children's books. I won't argue the death penalty itself, I doubt my arguments would find any purchase here.

    For those who want to be with others who oppose the death penalty tonight, there's a list of vigils at: http://www.savetookie.org/

    If Californian law said that thieves should have their hands cut off, most of the above arguments would still apply. But somehow, that would definitely feel wrong.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Too bad the celebrities and Tookie sympathizers do not have the same compassion for his victims as they have for this barbarous murderer.
    More nonsense. I sympathize with all murder victims. Executing this man does nothing for the victims. I wish all the death penalty fans would stop using the victims as a scapegoat for their bloodlust, and admit revenge is what they seek. I do not weep for dead murderers. I weep for the innocent that have and will be executed by the state. Will prosecutors, police, judges and jurors suffer the death penalty for being party to the execution of an innocent man? I might support it then, in certain cases. Otherwise, not in my name Jack.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    kdog Ė One of the earliest purposes of government was to eliminate blood feuds between groups was to dispense justice instead of allowing the individuals to do so. i.e. Revenge. So yes. Revenge it is.

    Too bad the celebrities and Tookie sympathizers do not have the same compassion for his victims as they have for this barbarous murderer.
    Who said that those who are opposed to the death penalty have no sympathy for the victims? There is no evidence of that claim. I'm sure nobody has said they have no sympathy for the victims, so how do you justify a statement like that? In fact, since the opponents of the death penalty are so opposed to killing, an argument can be made that they FEEL MORE sympathy for the victims than do those who channel their all their feelings about the situation into anger and demands for revenge. Because the death penalty is nothing more than state-sanctioned vengeance. If you support the death penalty, at least have the honesty to state openly that you believe that killing in the cause of vengeance is justified and that you support it. Personally, I don't see how anyone who holds that belief can at the same time claim to be a Christian, at least by my reading of the New Testament, specifically the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-39), which states: ďYou have heard that it was said, ĎAn eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.í But I tell you, donít resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. I don't see how people can claim to be Christian and at the same time want to play at God. So please explain whether you claim to be a Christian but disagree with Christ's teaching on this point, or whether you simply disagree with Christ's teaching and the Christian view of morality.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#38)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    Here is the quick and dirty on my philosophy of the value of life. Like all things human, life has no intrinsic value; after all, valuing is something done by folks about things. So, what value does this manís life have? If it is judged by the money and effort spent trying to save it then it is worth more than the tens of thousands of the most desperately poor who will die of otherwise trivially treatable or preventable diseases, folks who would have benefited more (in numbers, by orders of magnitude) than this one man. Of course the same could be said about the value of his death. Anyway Ö All you Ďlife isnít cheapí folks are blowing smoke. The lives of the most vulnerable and desperately poor in the world are worth less than your simple conveniences; your morning coffee drink, your kidís cell phone plan and electronic toys, the computer you are using to blog your bogus empathy.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#39)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    I strongly disagree with pig, but there are no inconsistancy there, just a bleak, nihilistic view of life.

    pigwiggle: Do people who claim to hold opinions like the ones you just posted expect to influence the rest of us by expressing them here? Or are you just posting here to get a rise out of us?

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#41)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:56 PM EST
    But if life is indeed cheap and without intrinsic value [i mean this phrase in more than a monetary sense] why the outrage when someone is killed be it by a criminal etc. But does not the outrage at the killing of someone supports the value of life?

    Dadler, I was wrong too, I figured Arnold wouldn't have the stones to go through with it.
    Oh, yeah. What a big, big man he is. Choosing the quick and easy retribution and acting like it was someone else's decision to boot. Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what Jesus would have done. Bravo.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#43)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Cymro, Thou shalt not kill Actually, a more proper translation of the original would be "thou shalt not murder." Note the difference. Turn the other cheek This was not as submissive as it sounds to modern ears. Romans would strike a backhand blow with their left hands to the right cheek of a slave. The backhand indicated contempt, as did the use of the "unclean" left hand. They would not use their right hand - that would indicate they were fighting an equal. So to turn the other cheek, specifically the left one, was an act of passive resistance. It put the Roman in the position of either withdrawing, or of striking you as an equal, and thereby acknowledging your equality. [The above from memory. Next stop: table design for the Last Supper.]

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#44)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    BTW, Just to be clear, I then went & looked up both pts above. Here is an explanation of "thou shalt not kill vs thou shalt not murder." And here is a description of the left-cheek/right-cheek business, as it would have been understood in its original culture.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#45)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Just to be clear the first reference is a Jewish based, essentially Old testemant view. Not a Christian view.

    The "eye for an eye" reference above is speaking of individuals engaging in revenge killings, a common practice in Old Testament times that led to the establishment of cities of refuge in Israel. The death penalty is the government acting on behalf of society, and Romans 13 speaks clearly about that: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God... For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil... For he is Godís minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is Godís minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil..." Murder is (at least to most of us) an evil. I don't think it would be unscriptural not to have the death penalty, but I also don't think a solid case against it can be built on the Bible without significant cherry-picking of references. Of course, a lot of people who are so quick to quote Jesus on topics like this don't seem to have much respect for the full canon of His teachings.

    Thanks soccerdad, I was assuming that even people who do not claim to be Christian would understand the relationship between a Christian viewpoint and view of the world expressed in the Old Testament. I guess I was mistaken. ras, I could provide you with many links explaining how the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the mount are opposed to the death penalty. But if you just use google, you can find them yourself if you have a mind to look. I find them convincing. Evidently you follow a different kind of logic.

    I'm no fan of the death penalty - it's a bit to final for an imperfect system for my taste. having said that, if anyone is deserving of the ultimate penalty, it's Williams. He hasn't been willing to finger accomplices because he says it would be "snitching". Sorry, but a man who thinks that way is simply nor remorseful. Playing at it, maybe.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#49)
    by jimcee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Cymro, If the celebrity sympathies were so strong towards the killed we would have seen them in 1980 when the victims were murdered in the form of demonstrations against the random murders committed by Williams. Where were they? Where are the demonstrations against the everyday murders that happen in the US? Murder is not protested everyday but the death penalty is, at least lately. So obviously more attention is spent on defending murderers from death then thier victims from the same. Funny how rhetoric pales in comparison to action. If there wasn't a death penalty I really wouldn't care much either way except that the next step for the murderer's apologist is to say that life w/o parole is cruel and unusual punishment and there we go slip-sliding down that slope. If you don't like the death penalty then lobby the gov't to stop it and if you win there will be no death penalty, if you lose then there is one. Funny how democracy works that way. If you continue with your holier than thou rhetoric you will never achieve you goal. Condescencion rarely wins friends. So back to the basic question: The death penalty was part of the law in California at the time a jury has determined Williams murdered four people, so what part of dead didn't he understand? Obviously he understood death very well as he was a practicioner of it well before now. As far as the morality of the death penalty, I have no opinion because unlike some here I wouldn't want to inflict my morality on others. In the case of Tookie Williams he did inflict his morality on society and apparently with the approval of some on this thread. He made the same choices as Mumia made and both deserve the sentence they recieved. Vengence? Perhaps but I don't care. Save your lectures for your like-minded comrads. Oh, wait they're here. Lecture away.....

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#50)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Soccerdad, IIRC, scholarly commentators, Jewish & Christian alike, have debated the translation of "thou shalt not kill" for many years, with most concluding that "thou shalt not murder" is prob a better translation, but a significant number q'ing whether "thou shalt not kill" should be used anyway in the spirit of Christ's broader philosophy. (This of course makes a circular arg, basing the words on the philosophy, and the philosophy on the words). Cymro, "Thou shalt not murder" is also a part of Christian tradition. It is the reason, for ex, that the catechism of the Catholic church says: The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty It continues to say, and here I paraphrase, "but only if really necessary." And not often is it necessary, the attitude is clear that it is a last resort. Nonetheless, the selection of "thou shalt not murder" as the Catholic Christian interpretation is clear, else capital punishment would have been outright banned throughout the church's history, as would the other exceptions for self-defence, defence of innocents, etc.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#51)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Relaxer4 - to pardon is to free the person. Clemency is to reduce the punishment. Clemency can reduce the punishment to time served or some other mechanicism that will end up in a release. Soc - Catholic or just a Catholic education? No judgmental motive just curious if the education was from a CCD (or Catecheitim program) or from some sort of teaching in a Catholic School. To those who ask how one can be for the death penalty, and also believe in the teachings of Christ, I refer you to Acts. Not having a Bible handy (am at school, just finishing with a final) all I can do is point you towards the beginning of acts. There St. Peter calls down the Holy Spirit to kill two people as punishment. The Spirit is a part of the Trinity, coequal with God and Jesus. The fact that the request was granted, and the two slain, is indication that the death penalty is not a per se evil. For how this is interpreted, both Pope John II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church both indicate distaste for the death penalty, but allow for it's possibility if there is no other way to protect society from the condmned. As far as this the case goes... that's up for debate. But given the closeness of the question, he should have been spared the death penalty.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#52)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Ras Dont try to blow smoke up my ... Heres what the catholic catechism says ARTICLE 5 - THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT You shall not kill.[54] 2258 "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."[56] snip 2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor. "If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. "Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.' [68]

    Can you please take your bible talk elsewhere and keep your comments to the topic of this thread, Stanley Tookie Williams?

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#54)
    by BigTex on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Apologies TL.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#55)
    by soccerdad on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    TL Feel free to delete my comment Tex 12 years of Catholic school.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#56)
    by jimcee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    TL, thank you for the intrevention between those folks but don't disregard thier opinions. They may be right on both accounts. Who knows for sure.......

    It's your blog, TL, so shutting down the "Bible talk" is your perogative. But please note that you introduced it by linking and quoting Attytood prominently with a comment including this, "A so-called Christian fundamentalist who supports capital punishment is going through more twists than a South Philly pretzel." A lot of commenters invoked Jesus or some type of Christian principle in denouncing the execution. And I just saw a woman interviewed on TV, among the protestors at the prison, denouncing the execution as she stood clad in a clerical collar and robe. Disingenuous of you to say the "Bible talk" is a distraction from the Tookie discussion. But hey, your toy. Your right to take it home.

    Sorry TL. I probably started the biblical debate when I did not need to. There are many reasons for opposing the death penalty, some of which involve the possibility of a wrongful conviction, and others are based on believing that it is simply wrong to kill people, no matter who you are or why you believe that. I'm content to leave it at that. Jimcee,
    Where are the demonstrations against the everyday murders that happen in the US? ... Murder is not protested everyday but the death penalty is, at least lately.
    How do you propose people should protest against a murder that they are not aware of until after it has been committed? You seem to suggest that those protests should have taken "the form of demonstrations"? You mean there should be anti-gang-warfare demonstrations, like anti-Iraq-war demonstrations, you mean? Can you be in favor of the first and not the second? In your last point you are claiming to have no personal opinion about the morality of the death penalty, and that as far as you are concerned it's just a matter of following state law. But in this previous thread, in which you were questioning TChris for posting that support for the death penalty was falling, your opinion did not seem to be nearly so neutral. You were mocking his claims, whereas the real problem was actually in your mistaken belief that two-thirds was equal to 75 percent. I pointed out your error at the time, and noted:
    If support were to drop for 12 more years at the present rate, as you suggest, support for the death penalty will be down to 53.33% by 2018, and below 50% by 2022.
    You did not respond then, so I ask you again -- since your mathematics have been shown to be faulty will you now revise your conclusions? And in 2022, when (say) support drop below 50% and the death penaly is abolished, will you then start mocking death penalty supporters for opposing state law?

    This isn't right. It shouldn't happen. It's not fair to hold a black man born into a ghetto socioeconomic situation up to the same standard as everyone of a lighter color who was raised under far more oportunistic circumstances. Our prison system is a failure. Let's place a moritorium on the death penalty until we improve our society to a place where it can truly be called one with liberty and justice for all.

    Tex...your biblical support for the death penalty is valid only if Arnold can summon God to do the deed. Maybe Chuck Heston can, but Arnold...I don't think so. I agree with GWG...the death penalty in this country is arbitrarily applied (both classist AND racist). Which goes a long way towards explaining why conservatives support it.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#61)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    Soccerdad, You quote the catechism that allows for capital punishment as evidence against same? Whatever. Like I said, the atitude is against the dp.p., but the exception nonetheless defines a diff between murder and killing. TL, When you got good people, let 'em run. This is an interesting discussion, or was. Note that not only was capital punishment being discussed, as well as its origins/justifications, but also the interpretation of the scripture; i.e. whether it should be handled in a textualist, originalist, or "living" fashion. Seems relevant to me. GWG, Williams murdered asians, in a racist manner, laughing at what he'd done to the "buddha-heads," as he called them. Pause for thought on your own racial stereotyping, just perhaps? Cymro, You are looking to mock others as religious hypocrites. They are not. Disagreeing with you does not make one a hypocrite, the claim of which says more about you than about them. All, STC quota reached. See you next time. It's now safe to rebut!

    ras, as usual you offer precious little of substance for a rebuttal. But what the hell... Jesus said that he was the one who doles out the vengeance, not you. He was very clear about this. Go read up on it. Then this: Williams murdered asians, in a racist manner, laughing at what he'd done to the "buddha-heads," as he called them. Pause for thought on your own racial stereotyping, just perhaps? Besides this having nothing to do with refuting the fact that the death penalty is arbitrarily applied...pause and think about this: He will be put to death by a government that would have given him a medal for killing "gooks", "slopes", or "dinks" in Vietnam 5 years earlier.

    Ras, The only difference between "murder" and "killing" is that murder is only applied when a human being is killed. This comes as little surprise as most murders throughout history were rationalized by some variant of "he wasn't human". Color me unenthused about using this rationale.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#64)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    The gruesome death watch set in motion by the refusal Monday of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency culminated shortly after midnight in the state murder by lethal injection of Stanley Tookie Williams. The horrifying event, replete with television shots of the awaiting death chamber, was a testament to the backwardness of American society, and the degeneracy of the US ruling elite and its political and media servants.
    The execution of Stanley Tookie Williams By the WSWS Editorial Board, 13 December 2005

    ras:
    You are looking to mock others as religious hypocrites. They are not. Disagreeing with you does not make one a hypocrite, the claim of which says more about you than about them.
    You ascribe to me statements I did not make and conclusions I did not draw, then attack me for your own inventions. When I state that personally, I do not understand how someone can hold two beliefs that appear to me to be contradictory, I am making a truthful statement about my perception that you cannot disagree with. When I ask someone to explain how they think, I am asking them to account for what I perceive to be a contradiction. So you can chose to respond by trying to expain, or chose to ignore the question I raise. But you cannot make the question go away by attacking me for asking it. Because my question is a valid one, and plenty of people with much better credentials than me have reached the same conclusion as I have about the death penalty. For example, see this and this and this and this. And you can find dozens more like these if you care to spend a few minutes with Google.

    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    "How can a person express contrition if heís not guilty?" "If I were culpable of these crimes, Iíd be on my knees, begging everybody." "The longer I sit in this animalistic cage, the more human I become. Iíve learned not to allow the negative ambience to control me. Iíve risen above all of that, like a phoenix, a black phoenix." "The least I can do is maintain my dignity. I confront madness with integrity. I donít walk around like some shuffling black man." "Iíll go through it with dignity, with integrity, with love and bliss in my heart. I smile at everything, and Iím quite sure Iíll smile then, too. I smile to myself, and I donít worry about it."
    Excerpts From an Interview With Stanley Tookie Williams

    Sorry TL, but just one more quick Bible talk. Look at the first murder. God did not kill Cain or allow anyone else to kill him. Cain thought he would be killed.
    But the LORD said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.


    Re: Countdown to Execution: Stanley 'Tookie' Willi (none / 0) (#68)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    ďDo people who claim to hold opinions like the ones you just posted expect to influence the rest of us by expressing them here?Ē
    I only speak for myself.
    ďOr are you just posting here to get a rise out of us?Ē
    Well, if you want to argue as one of the Ďall life has valueí folks, Iím just pointing out a consistency problem in the position. Rise to it, fix it, ignore it; whatever. I think this manís life had some extra value; emblematic value, a rhetorical prop. Of course camouflaging it in talk of justice, compassion, the value of life; it doesnít sound so crass. According with my sense of justice this manís life belonged to those folks that loved his victims (assuming he was guilty). It was their debt not societyís (jailhouse conversions and kiddy books aside), to be repaid as they saw fit. Society is an abstract, a byproduct of individuals. It doesnít have rights or obligations, and it certainly canít hold credit or debt.

    "Pause for thought on your own racial stereotyping, just perhaps?" It's not about racism. It's about our sick society and how we raise our children and the environments where they grow up. It's about oppression, rejection, and lack of opportunity to become the best you can be.