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a Man, Sentence Him to Death
[by Mac Johnson] 11/29/05
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that he would consider
granting clemency to Stanley “Tookie” Williams,
a murdering gang member sentenced to death for his part in
four killings committed during two
separate armed robberies.
Tookie probably killed a lot more people than that. I say this
not just because it is a strong statistical probability, given
Tookie’s youthful pattern of behavior (i.e. shooting
folks), but because Tookie is one of the two founding fathers
of the “Crips” drug gang, which along with the “Bloods” turned
Los Angeles into a war zone during the Crack epidemic of the
decades after Tookie was taken away from his illegitimate brainchild,
his creation continues to murder, rob, rape, steal, extort,
assault and maim. And, as is true of any other gangster, Tookie
is responsible for the crimes of his underlings just as assuredly
as he is for his own. So why is anyone campaigning for clemency?
Johnson is a freelance writer and biologist in Cambridge,
Mass. Mr. Johnson holds a Doctorate in Molecular and
Cellular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. He
is a frequent opinion contributor to Human
Events Online. His website can be found at macjohnson.com [go
to Johnson index]
Tookie is good people now. You see, Bad Tookie, the one who
killed people and started a nationwide
gang of drug-pushing
thugs, no longer exists. Now there is only Good Tookie. Good
Tookie writes children’s books and believes that killing
people is just plain wrong. These philosophical accomplishments
have so impressed some that Tookie was once nominated for the
Nobel Peace Prize, the
credibility and stature of which grows
with every new round of nominations.
Good Tookie made his first appearance in prison
and is the result of a remarkable personal rehabilitation.
did not happen overnight. At first Tookie couldn’t care
less about his sins and victims (all of whom remain dead, I’m
told), but as the appeals process became increasingly exhausted,
he increasingly saw the error of his ways. If only California
would apply its death penalty more swiftly, we might have known
Good Tookie sooner. But since a drug dealer on death row has
a longer average lifespan than one still on the street, the emergence
of this peace-loving butterfly understandably took some time.
Tookie, both Bad and Good, had his days in court, where not
even the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could find substantive
fault with his convictions, which is remarkable in itself. And
now his execution finally looms, set optimistically for December
13. But Tookie did win one appeal--his appeal to the Court of
Liberal America, centered in Hollywood, Calif.
There, Tookie’s the poster child of … well, where
to begin? He seems to be the living symbol of redemption, prison
education, poverty, black victimhood, institutional racism, youth
outreach, death penalty abolition, and denim-clad prison philiospher-gurus.
He’s had a movie made about him, Redemption, starring Jamie
Foxx. Danny Glover and Snoop Dog are firmly on his side. Anti-American
international human rights crusaders and their domestic enablers
see him as a Jesus figure, except they like him. The Nobel committee
was obviously impressed. And it is probably just a matter of
time before he is legally adopted by Angelina Jolie. All in all,
the transformation of Tookie is a fine example of the unheralded
power of the death penalty to rehabilitate.
Tookie is not alone however. Dozens of cold-blooded killers
have become writers, poets, lawyers, evangelical preachers, youth
ministers, civil rights crusaders, animal lovers and professionally
contrite appellants while awaiting execution.
Faye Tucker. She was the first
woman executed in Texas since the Civil War. I know she filled
first for women because the media invariably affixed that fact
to her as though it were part of a hyphenated surname: Karla
Faye Tucker became the first woman executed in Texas since the
Civil War on Tuesday … the first state-sponsored killing
of a woman in Texas since the American Civil War … clearing
the way for her to become the first woman to be executed in Texas
since the Civil War … Tucker, the first woman executed
in Texas since the Civil War.
In addition to being a pioneer for post-bellum
feminism, Karla Faye was a “born-again” Christian. This was the only
fact the media seemed to be more enamored with than her place
in the history of the criminal women’s movement. Evangelical
Christianity would have disqualified her from holding high office
in their eyes, but they believed it made her a more pitiable
gurney jockey, so they ran with it. Her conversion occurred on
death row, of course.
Before her rehabilitation, she killed a man and a woman with
an ice axe while robbing them for drug money. She straddled the
victims as she repeatedly plunged the pick into their begging
bodies, and afterwards she bragged that their panicked death
throes had caused her to orgasm as she killed them.
But then Karla Faye found Jesus somewhere in
the appeals process and decided that it had all been wrong.
Indeed, she felt so bad
about it, that she married her prison minister. The same sociopath
who had felt so very good in such a very intimate way about killing
people with her own hands (and they remain dead, I’m told),
was later helped to rediscover Jesus Christ, conversational politeness,
and girlish hair bows by that miracle of the justice system:
One could fill a thick book with the stories of other such soulless
human hazards that have been turned into pleasant community-minded
people by some quiet time with their own scheduled mortality.
Can we ever afford to lose this, perhaps the greatest, force
for rehabilitation in our justice system?
If you believe in rehabilitation, how can you
not believe in the death penalty? Nothing seems to trigger
more surely than a death sentence. I am all for such rehabilitation.
Let’s rehabilitate all child killers. Let’s rehabilitate
most murderers of adults. Let’s rehabilitate all the poor
misguided souls at Guantanamo. Heck, let’s rehabilitate
a few email spammers while we’re at it.
But let’s rehabilitate them all a little
faster than we have in the past. Why deny the rehabilitated
the joy of understanding
the value of decent human life one more day than is necessary?
Good Tookie has said he wants to serve as an
example for America’s
troubled youth. On December 13, perhaps he finally will. And
then maybe they can work on their rehabilitations while such
things still matter. -one-
first appeared at Human Events Online
2005 Mac Johnson