Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Terminating Tookie

Tookie Williams received his state mandated dose of potassium chloride this morning. He deserved it. As often occurs whenever somebody famous gets the needle, the question of whether or not the death penalty is just comes up.

In addition to the four killings that he was convicted of, Williams founded a criminal organization that has killed countless others. He ranks right up there with Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, and Osama Bin Ladin. Men like him are why there should be capital punishment.

Yet there are some reasons why states should be careful with capital punishment. Sometimes innocent people are put to death. Sometimes depressed people commit murder just so the state will put them down, and capital punishment becomes an incentive rather than a deterrent. Judges and juries need to take these factors into consideration.


  1. I agree, Tookie deserved what he got. I am sorry that his appeals took so long. I am glad that he fought to undo his earlier life's work at the end of his life, but if his anti-gang activism was the sentence, the death penalty was the period. There was a lesson in that.

  2. If he was serious about peace, he would have testified against other Crips and helped the LAPD break up the gang.

  3. True, I never thought of that. Like a mobster that turns... Sammy the Bull and the like. But they rarely go straight. Put them in witness protection and it winds up that their families are protected, the ex-mobster breaks the law and goes to jail...

  4. The case can be made against capital punishment, and it's a good debate to have periodically. However, to hold Tookie Williams up as the reason to not have it is really a poor choice. The Crips have brought so much suffering, and especially to the poor and to blacks and Hispanics. It makes me wonder why on earth Jesse Jackson rallied behind Williams.

  5. I still think the government should have at most two years to put the worst criminals to death, not 25 years.

  6. it-chick-Never let a murderer out of prison, especially for the witness protection program. He can get the carrot of life without parole, or extra priviliges in exchange for information and testimony.

    Mike Sylvester- 25 years is too long. Scott Petersen has more to fear from old age than he has to fear from the needle.
    But 2 years is too short. The system is by no means perfect. Juries usually consist of 12 people who do not follow current events. Jury duty is the only job in which ignorance is a qualification. That is why it pays $5 a day.

    Appeals should be automatic for questions of competence, but not for questions of additional evidence. The convict must file such appeals on his own intiative.

    I'm also struck by the irony of death row cases in which the condemed just wants to get it over with, the prosecutor says he's fit to decide that for himself, and the defence says that he is not. I think the convict should be allowed to choose someone who argues that he is in fact compentent.

  7. I answered your eyeball question, thanks for the tip. I just read your profile for the first time. I have no idea why it took me so long to read it. Law enforcement? Do you know Mr. Toughguy?