Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie is Toast

With the witching hour only three hours away and his last-ditch clemency appeal denied, infamous gang founder and murderer Stanley "Tookie" Williams is near his end.

This whole episode has me conflicted. Those who know me know that I oppose the death penalty in all its myriad forms -- indeed, I am a convert to the anti-death penalty camp. That having been said, the lunacy that has surrounded the "Save Tookie" movement almost makes me wonder if I might have made a rash decision, not so much because I think the death penalty is acceptable, but rather because I might be lumped with these pro-Tookie nutcakes.

Seriously, there is this bizarre misconception of rehabilitation in our society. There should always be room for forgiveness in our hearts, and the possibility always exists that someone might turn their life around, but there is a rather thick line between forgiveness and the abandonment of common sense. To say that Tookie Williams should be forgiven for his sins is a noble suggestion; to say that his claims of remorse in the wake of founding one of the most lethal street gangs in the world's history and murdering four people in cold blood and authoring of several children's books entitles him to clemency and escape from what is coming to him is insane. I do not care if he promises to spend the next 25 years of his life making party favors for hospitalized children out of his own toenail clippings -- he still killed four people, inspired the killing of hundreds of others, and deserves to be punished for it. Period.

Now, would his punishment be more severe if he were left to stare at the walls of his prison for a few more decades? For Tookie, the issue is moot, but perhaps we can discuss that another day.

Did my lights just dim?


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