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  1. #1
    is back jar_e's Avatar
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    Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    As with any execution, it opens up the constant old argument of the death penalty. I personally haven't researched enough of the particular case, though it does seem that he tried to "redeem" (whether or not he had to redeem him self), through numerous books geared towards kids to prevent them from getting involved in crime. I believe Williams was the founder of the "Crips" gang. It's been an extremely long process (I believe the crime happened in the 70's), and my thought is why it takes 30 some odd years for this whole process to happen.

    Any thoughts?

    Jared

  2. #2
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    I was a little dissapointed to hear that he was denied clemency, or that his last minute appeal was rejected. I don't condone what he did, if in fact he did do it, but I don't think we are any safer, or better off now that he's gone. Perhaps the taxpayers are happy to not be paying to keep him in prison anymore, and I imagine the family members of the victems feel that justice has been served, but are we, as a society, really any better off? I'm not a supporter of the death penenty, but I don't think crimes like these should go unpunished either. He spent many years behind bars, writing childrens books to help keep young people from making the same mistakes he did, and was nominated for a nobel prize on several occations. The latter part doesn't mean a whole lot since anyone can nominate anyone else for the prize, but I think he did do some good for society with his writings, and he could have continued to do so.
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  3. #3
    News & Rum-or-ator opus's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    I'm not sure that "redemption" in prison should have anything to do with clemency, especially 30 years later. Suppose the process only took 5 years and the person didn't have time to "redeem" himself. Is there a difference?

    Also, when there is a foreknown punishment for a crime, "redemption" doesn't really seem fair. It would seem to me that consistency is vital in punishing violent crime. It's hard not to let the sweet sound of "writes children's books" tug at your heartstrings. But two innocent men did not have the chance to write children's books of their own, let alone have children of their own.

    Don't you suppose that, if he had gotten clemency based on the fact that he wrote children's books, that there would be a sudden surge of children's book authors coming from Death Row?

    The exception I make is where there is doubt as to whether someone actually did commit the crime or not.


    I really don't know if we as a society have the right to put people to death for their crimes or not. I'm still up in the air about that one. I suppose my opinion would depend strongly on whether I knew the accused or the victims. If my child was sentenced to death row, would I be against the death penalty? If my child was murdered, would I be a supporter? I don't know.

    If *I* was wrongly convicted and sentenced, would I be against it? (Of course!)

    But I guess I come down on the side of supporting authority to be responsible for those decisions.
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  4. #4
    nature/wildlife co-moderator paulnj's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Well, since I am now a MODERATOR, I guess I should be hmmmm reserved?

    I think he was convicted on COLOR and his starting a "GANG" based on controlling the drug sceen ;) Let's all be honest here, could a ominious man of his skin tone get a fair trial in the early 80's, let alone right now ;) Our legal system is still to this day very slanted towards the caucasians IMHO.

    Whether he did it or not , only he KNEW(well maybe a few friends would know if indeed he had done the home invasion and store robbery in question).

    I think the death penalty is wrong! If murder is wrong, then why is it right to murder a murderer might I ask? AN EYE FOR AN EYE YOU SAY? Or is it 2 wrongs now make a right?




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  5. #5
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Quote Originally Posted by paulnj
    Does anyone want the unreserved version
    Well, you're not the moderator of this forum!

    I haven't really come to a pro- or anti- capital punishment conclusion, personally. I'm leaning more towards anti though and I think this case helps me draw more of a conclusion about it. Having capital punishment does nothing to deter other crimes from being comitted. Innocent people are still being murdered. Drugs are still being sold. Now, is the world really better off without him? Obviously he did some horrible things in the past and he did a lot to try to make up for it. Never admitting guilt to the crimes he was committed of makes me wonder what really happened. Maybe he's guilty, maybe not (I doubt that though). Without knowing as much as I should know about this because I'm replying here, I don't think I agree with the outcome.

  6. #6
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Quote Originally Posted by kellybean
    Don't you suppose that, if he had gotten clemency based on the fact that he wrote children's books, that there would be a sudden surge of children's book authors coming from Death Row?...
    Well, we could only have hoped so...

    In this case IMO the ends justify the means, and if an inmate's motivation is selfish, but it still steers young people from gangs and a life of crime, I think we'd all be a lot better off because of it...

    Let's be clear about this. Williams' "children's books" were not of the Green Eggs and Ham variety. They were hard-hitting, honest accounts of street and prison life aimed at raising kids' self-esteem in an effort to lead them away from the mistakes he made 25 years ago:

    http://www.tookie.com/booktemp.html

    And while it's true Williams may have taken several innocent lives those many years ago, it is just as true he has saved countless ones since. Now, under our current laws, I can't say if that was enough to spare him from his death sentence, but I think it at least has to be part of the equation...
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  7. #7
    is back jar_e's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Quote Originally Posted by paulnj
    I think he was convicted on COLOR and his starting a "GANG" based on controlling the drug sceen ;) Let's all be honest here, could a ominious man of his skin tone get a fair trial in the early 80's, let alone right now ;) Our legal system is still to this day very slanted towards the caucasians IMHO.
    Paul,

    That was my initial thoughts too. However, out of the last 12 people executed by the State of California, only two have been "black" or "coloured." I think one main reason he didn't get clemency is that he didn't show remorse towards the crime. Even if he was innocent, wouldn't he show some sort of remorse towards the family? I understand his want to be innocent, but it's still a uhman life, even if he did it or not.

    It's a tough issue.

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    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Quote Originally Posted by jar_e
    I think one main reason he didn't get clemency is that he didn't show remorse towards the crime. Even if he was innocent, wouldn't he show some sort of remorse towards the family? I understand his want to be innocent, but it's still a uhman life, even if he did it or not.
    I think the biggest reason that he showed no remorse and never appologized to the victims family is because he claimed he was innocent of the crimes. Why say your sorry for something you claim you didn't do? In a way, that would be admitting that you did infact do it. I think that his appeals were based on the very premis that he didn't commit these crimes. If he were to appologise for committing the murders, he really could continue to fight the convictions based on the idea that he didn't do it. It would be like telling the families I'm sorry I killed your son, then telling the judge, I didn't do it. I think in this situation, guilty or not, it was an either or choice. Admit that you did it, and say your sorry, or maintain your innocence and contiune to appeal your case.

    Paul,
    Those very thoughts have run thru my head many times in this case.
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  9. #9
    nature/wildlife co-moderator paulnj's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    I took a quick look at the list of people on death row in California earlier today. My quick observation was that most are from LA county(59%) Of the nearly 700 on death row in CA a good number of AFFIRMED cases are infact CAUCASIANS. But atleast 50% of affirmed cases from the late 70's / early 80's are "BLACK" or so the web site said.

    Those stats tell me that "BLACK" people in LA county are more apt to commit murder, or does it say...... "BLACK" people in lower income areas(read can't afford OJ's lawyers) get the death penalty.


    I think our legal system is like any other BUSINESS in the country... Those who can afford to pay get better treatment. We all know OJ is a murderer, MJ is a kid toucher, BLAKE blew his wife away, and had they been poor they would be behind bars in protective custody.

    BTW.. I have been in jail twice awaiting trial as a youth. I know that caucasians are out numbered by NON CAUCASIANS in custody. I wasn't convicted persay though... because I am CAUCASIAN!!!! I got monthly phone in probation for a crime punishable by 7 years in jail and I had a public pretender!

    I am not saying that it's right that I got probation, but I play the hand I was dealt!
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  10. #10
    is back jar_e's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Michael,

    I saw it differently. I understand about saying sorry if you did it, but to my understanding, Williams never said "I'm sorry for your loss" or anything to that extent (to my limited knowledge) to the victims famliy. I believe you can still still be somewhat sympathetic and a tad remorseful, even though you didn't do it.

    Paul,

    It's true. If you pay the money, your going to be innocent. It's sad, but unfortunately, it'll happen. Being a celebrity is a whole another can of worms IMO. In Canada btw, the majority of people convicted of crimes are put in probation or house arrest, not put in jail. It's amazing what you can learn from a law class

  11. #11
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Quote Originally Posted by paulnj
    Those stats tell me that "BLACK" people in LA county are more apt to commit murder, or does it say...... "BLACK" people in lower income areas(read can't afford OJ's lawyers) get the death penalty.
    Actually, these days if you're black and have enough money or celebrity status, and a savvy, celebrity lawyer who knows how to play his race card right, apparently you too can avoid a conviction! 'Po Martha!

    Also Paul, killing a person for a crime they committed is not murder. It's called justice. Murder is to kill someone premeditatively and with malice (i.e. without a justifiable reason, such as in self-defense or in the execution of justice).

    BTW everyone, I watched a documentary on the American penal system some time ago. I think it really explains well why our country is so polarized today on the death penalty. Historically speaking, imprisonment mainly served only to temporarily hold a criminal for some form of physical punishment to follow. But in America, authorities began to experiment with imprisonment as the primary form of punishing the criminal, hence the gradual departure from death and other forms of punishment for one's crime. After over 100 years of soceity being assimilated to accept a penal system where imprisonment as the norm for punishing criminals, it is not to wonder why major resistance has built up against the death penalty. We are, in effect, nearly divorced from those days where physical punishment was the norm.

    For those who oppose the death penalty on the basis that 1) an innocent man might die and 2) it does not serve as deterrent to others, could not the same arguments be validly used against imprisonment and any other form of punishment as well?

    I ask this because it seems to me these arguments are more emotionally based than anything else.

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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    I thought it was cool to be black anyway? Isn't it?

  13. #13
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Look, the bottom line is simple here. After 30 years of court reviews and last minute extra reviews of all the evidence, old and new, everyone came to the same conclusion: Tookie was guilty beyond any doubt. Almost everyone claims to be innocent for some reason or another. In all the media hype about he being a "poor victim", how many times did you hear about the REAL victims, the people Tookie murdered and their families that have to live with it?

    Can you "redeem" yourself of four murders by writing a few books? In that 30+ years, he refused to help police with the Crypts. He refused to help police with crimes he knew about. Waste 30 years with appeals, write a few books, and everything is forgiven? Come on now!

    A person given a lfe sentence without parole is pretty much living on "prison easy street." He can do anything he wants, injure or kill fellow inmates and/or guards. You already gave him the maximum sentence, what are you going to do about it? The answer is simple, absolutely nothing. There is no fear of further punishment, no inhibitions. Do we really want a prison system loaded with people beyond punishment?

    I'm not deluding myself, I realize that the death penalty has absolutely nothing to do with deterrence. Like it or not, mankind is not filled with the "milk of kindness." Seeing someone who slaughtered your family member(s) in cold blood suffer the maximum penalty is closure, a tiny bit of relief that this person has suffered the same fate as his victims, that he can never do that again regardless of anything else. And yes, a bit of revenge as well.

    There was nothing at all redeeming about Tookie. It was all smoke and mirrors because he was desperate to escape the penalty for his crimes. Crimes that he knowingly planned and carried out. They say that bullies are really cowards. Even with a gun, Tookie was no different and paid the cost.
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    Senior Member srobb's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Well, I cannot say whether the man was innocent, or guilty. The fact that there have been innocent men convicted by a jury of their peers leads me to believe our system is still flawed. I do not believe in the death penalty simply because I don't believe it is the deterrant they claim it is.

    This I will say and don't like talking about it; people want to talk about those in prison as being a non-class of individuals. Or they want to talk about how they cannot be rehabilitated. The reason for that is that most people don't want the system geared for that. Why else would they complain about all the money spent for prison health-care (which really is nothing but a joke), or the money spent in trying to help inmates gain new skills, or continue their education. No, people don't want that because they don't want these "people" able to get out and maybe move next to them.

    Ok, I have had my rant now. In a more rational tone of voice I will say, again, that I don't agree with the death penalty. It serves no purpose other than to kill others; simply a legal form of murder. Tookie may have been innocent. No one will ever know that for sure. For what ever reason, he at least tried to do something positive with his life experiences with writing the books for kids. I will at least give the man a little credit for that, no matter what reason he actually did it for.
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  15. #15
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Ok, I have had my rant now. In a more rational tone of voice I will say, again, that I don't agree with the death penalty. It serves no purpose other than to kill others; simply a legal form of murder. Tookie may have been innocent. No one will ever know that for sure. For what ever reason, he at least tried to do something positive with his life experiences with writing the books for kids. I will at least give the man a little credit for that, no matter what reason he actually did it for.
    Uh... reading this just now I notice that its sounds a bit too harsh in tone (not content). Sorry about that, I wrote this very quickly this morning! But I don't have the time for a rewrite.

    First, show me an executed person who was innocent. Even that highly touted "executed but innocent" case of last week was proven wrong, the DNA nailed him just like all the other evidence. Yet he proclaimed his innocence right to the end.

    "Tookie may have been innocent." Well, the sun might not rise tomorrow! Nothing in life is provable 100%. Thirty years! Thirty years of reviews! No one thought he was innocent based on the evidence. Do you really believe he was innocent or are you just grasping at straws to support the "no death penalty" stance?

    Also, what do you do with those who admit their crimes? Are they in a similiar situation of maybe being innocent?

    No, Tookie did very little to rehabilitate himself. He stayed a loyal Crypt all through those 30 years. He steadfastly refused to give any help at all to the police prevent more murders by giving up information about the Crypts. How many other murders did that allow, how many of those were murders of the very children he was allegedly concerned about?

    A few books doesn't absolve someone of a string of murders. Thirty years of stalling doesn't change the facts. Yes, execution is state sponsored murder. But for a society to function, everyone must be willing to give up a little of that human desire for sadism and violence that lies within them. When people decide to become murderous bullies, putting themselves above the rest of society, they have to be dealt with. There are no more Australias any more. Some people must die so the vast majority may live.

    If you are a Christian, then you really do have to oppose the death penalty based on faith. That's fine but the rest of us can not be bound by that. Even God itself is not bound by that, slaughtering hundreds of millions based on a "secret plan" (just like Nixon!). Christians believe that executions by God are OK because of The Plan, executions by humans to preserve society are evil. I just don't get it and probably never will.

    By the way, I notice that you too are painting Tookie as the victim here just like the vast majority of observers. Once again, the real victims of his crimes, the people he murdered and their families, have been totally left out of the equation. Why is there always so much sympathy for the violent criminals and so little for their victims?
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  16. #16
    Senior Member srobb's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Michael, I hope I did not give the wrong impression. I do feel for all those families that lost loved ones because of Tookie; both directly and indirectly. My being against the death penalty really has no part in my faith being whatever it is. I look at it as strictly being a failure for what it was supposed to do; be a deterrant to serious crime. To me that is absolutely ludicrous as an idea since you will always have those individuals that nothing will deter.

    I would have to look back at records; not sure if there were any actually on death row to be proven innocent. The fact still remains there have been a number of individuals in the last few years convicted of serious crimes that have now been found innocent through DNA. That simply tells me that the possibility is there for it to happen for someone sent to Death Row.

    Writing a few books does not make anyone remorseful if you want to get right down to it. My problem is those that do not believe someone convicted of serious crimes could not be remorseful for what they had done. They don't want to believe it for whatever reason. Is it any wonder that recidivism rates can be high when society keeps that stigma attached to anyone that gets out and truly wants to change. It's not against the law to deny employment because of criminal record. Should it be? I don't know.

    But I can tell you this; I know of a man that was convicted of quite serious charges (some would say the worst possible) that has been out now for almost 12 years and never once thought of going back.
    "No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit." --Ansel Adams

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  17. #17
    Sitting in a Leaky Dingy Michael Fanelli's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Quote Originally Posted by srobb
    ... I look at it as strictly being a failure for what it was supposed to do; be a deterrant to serious crime. To me that is absolutely ludicrous as an idea since you will always have those individuals that nothing will deter.
    I agree, the death penalty is not, and never was, a deterrent. People don't stop and think "Gee, I wonder if I'll be executed for this" before killing someone. Punishment in general is ineffective as a deterrent. The death penalty is for those whose crimes are so heinous that we dare not let these people continue living in out society. The US is very careful about applying the death penalty, allowing 30 years for appeals! Even Texas! The percentage of people sentenced to death is minimal.

    I would have to look back at records; not sure if there were any actually on death row to be proven innocent. The fact still remains there have been a number of individuals in the last few years convicted of serious crimes that have now been found innocent through DNA. That simply tells me that the possibility is there for it to happen for someone sent to Death Row.
    Yes, some people on death row have, through appeals, have gotten off. But no one who was actually excecuted has ever been proven innocent. Think of it this way, if there were someone like that, the anti-death-penalty crowd would be screaming it out loud. That is why they were so disappointed that in the recent case the new evidence went against them.

    The serious crimes you are talking about are almost all rape cases. These guys were never on death row, never sentenced to death. Yes, mistakes are made. But, once again, the death penalty is rarely used for any crime.

    ...any wonder that recidivism rates can be high when society keeps that stigma attached to anyone that gets out and truly wants to change. It's not against the law to deny employment because of criminal record. Should it be? I don't know.
    The problem is that even the most aggressive attempts to reform criminals fail for most. Yes, we do have a major problem turning simple drug users into hardened criminals. Smoke a joint, get thrown into the joint. But none of these people, even the major drug dealers, have death sentences.

    But I can tell you this; I know of a man that was convicted of quite serious charges (some would say the worst possible) that has been out now for almost 12 years and never once thought of going back.
    That's great but, unfortunately, not the norm.
    "Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforseeable ways.

  18. #18
    re-Member shutterman's Avatar
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    Re: Stanley "Tookie" Williams Executed in California

    Michael, I think you and I finally agree on something! good points on this case and the death penalty.
    Wes

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