Sunday, December 25, 2005
The Martyrdom of Stanley "Tookie" Williams...
I am somewhat challenged to rationalize either pro or con for Tookie. Many have cited his being nominated for the Nobel Prize which doesn't really matter because this can occur based on the whims of any handkerchief head professors who think about things in only an academic way. I do acknowledge the following though:
- None of the physical evidence found at the crime scenes, including fingerprints and boot prints, matched Tookie's.
- The main evidence against Tookie was the testimony of jailhouse informants who claimed he had confessed to the murders. All of the so-called witnesses were themselves facing serious felony charges and had very strong motivations to make a deal with the authorities to reduce their own sentences. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals even admitted in 2002 that the informants had "less-than-clean back grounds and incentives to lie in order to obtain leniency from the state in either charging or sentencing."
- The prosecutor in the original case, Robert Martin, moved the trial from Los Angeles to Torrance, a predominantly white, highly conservative neighborhood. (Robert Martin was later censured twice by the California Supreme Court for his racist practices, leading to death sentences in two of the cases he prosecuted being overturned!)
- All of the African-Americans in the jury pool were dismissed and Tookie's case was heard by an all-white jury.
I think the government has some responsibility in not just practicing the law but upholding justice. One would think they would be especially sensitive given the fact that historically speaking, the police departments on that side of town have a pretty bad record. Remember Darryl Gates...
Likewise, you would think that there are enough race baiters and poverty pimps pushing for the clemency of a quadruple murder solely because of his skin color. Maybe these folks too need to focus on justice.
You'd think that people would be marching in the streets demanding his death sooner if they really cared about their communities and wanting to rid them of gang violence, black on black crime, and a whole plethora of ills associated with the kind of inner city drug crime that gangs like the Crips and Bloods helped to exacerbate. Alas this is not ever going to happen...
I wonder why the media never really discusses the victims and the children's books they did not get to write? I wonder if the media will ever discuss the joys of marriage and parenthood that they would never experience.
I haven't convicted Tookie to death in my own mind as we are supposed to be a society where if there is even one iota of doubt we should find people free. I do convict Tookie of another crime though and that is of Sedition. Anyone, who takes deliberate negative action against others within their community are guilty as charged.
Tookie was convicted and murdered by Arnold. I wonder if Tookie would be man enough to acknowledge that regardless of one's ability to transform himself that the better answer was for his life to be terminated? I wonder if he ever thought about how ending his own life would benefit the community at large? I wonder if both Tookie and Arnold will ever acknowledge the error of their ways...
I would have loved to hear the voices of the relatives of victims and their thoughts on this matter as their opinions matter more than anyone else on the planet. Noble religions such as Islam confer the rights upon the victims families to determine the outcome. If they choose to forgive then Tookie could have been freed. Likewise, if they choose not to forgive his life would have still been ended. This is real justice when society allows the real victims to make their own choices.
Maybe we have it all twisted when it comes to the Middle East. Maybe it is us Americans that need liberating? Maybe we need to free our own minds so that we can see through the eyes of others? Maybe the world will move along and be more concerned about the latest fashion statement made by Paris Hilton than anything that actually matters...
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