Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My opinion sucks ass

I'm sure you've heard about Tookie Williams execution in California this morning. While I try to stay away from controversial topics like this, I felt the need to share my confused thoughts on the death penalty.

Tookie Williams has done some wonderful things while incarcerated including writing and publishing several anti-gang books for children. He has seen the errors of his ways and publicly apologized for his mistakes. I do believe that he did become a better person during his years behind bars which is why I was saddened to hear of his execution.

On the other hand, HE MURDERED PEOPLE!. He co-founded one of the deadliest gangs in this country. These actions of his cannot be fixed. The families of the people he murdered will never have their loved ones back. What about the many other murders and crimes committed by the gang he helped create?

Do I feel that Tookie's death is the proper punishment for the lives he's taken? This is the question which makes me feel like my opinion just sucks. See, I feel that Tookie should NOT have been executed, but I do feel that the rest of his life should've been behind bars. However, had Tookie killed my son or one of my family members, I'd of been pissed that he spent an extra 23 years living before they lethally injected his ass. So basically because he didn't kill anyone I know, I don't feel he should have been executed. I think that's a fucked up opinion, even though it's mine. So go ahead and tell me what an asshole I am for feeling that way, I've prepared for it.

Oh and have a nice day!

16 comments:

Maine said...

I'm not a big fan of putting people on death row for 20 years. That's just silly. But I'm really not a death sentence type guy because a lot of those people didn't do it. And if it turns out that they find out later that the guy was innocent, you can't really unkill him, can you?

That said, I think that killing Tookie was the responsibility of the people whose lives he hurt. If somebody killed my wife and daughter, I wouldn't let the state prosecute them - I'd kill them myself. And if I get life in prison for it, oh well, what am I living for with a dead family?

The state should just lock people up forever and leave vigilante justice to the people who actually want the guy dead.

Macca said...

I'm with Maine on this one. 20+ years on Death Row? What's the point? Plus, there are a lot of peeps who get executed for other people's crimes. It costs exponentially more to have someone executed than to put them away forever. It's not even a deterent.

fyrchk said...

Actually, the number of people who are executed wrongly are far less than people are led to believe. One of the reasons people spend so much time on death row is because their case is AUTOMATICALLY appealed when a death sentence is given.

And, if you actually break it down, it costs more for them to receive life in prison.

While I am sure Tookie Williams did some good while he was in jail, don't forget what put him in jail. And all the problems we are having with gangs in this area. Remember the girl who was found up in your neck of the woods, April? Murdered by gang members because she wanted out?

I might not be a good person to talk about this. Considering I deal with gang members and murderers everyday that I work.

Macca said...

Great, now I have to do research to prove that it costs more to put someone on Death Row than to incacerate them for life (I have a B.S. in Criminology and have heard the above many times).
Uggh, I'm at work, i'm not supposed to be working.

april said...

Maine - You'd make an awesome vigilante. Can I make your bad ass costume?

Macca - I agree that life in prison is not a deterent, but execution is. Well, it would be for me anyway.

Fyrchk - You are the PERFECT person to discuss this with, because you have contact with these individuals on a daily basis. I DO remember the girl you mentioned. I am not forgetting what he went to jail for, which I did mention in the post. One part of me thinks that since killing is wrong, what gives the system the right to kill? Wrong is wrong. The other part of me says, "Let that mother fucker have killed my boy and I'd be serving a jail sentence for murder." Hands down. Hell yeah, I'd want his ass dead. See, this is why my opinion is fucked.

Maine said...

The deterrent thing is a non-issue because most criminals aren't doing crime with the intention of getting caught. And if you're murdering, odds are you're not thinking rationally enough to really care about the consequences of your actions. You just want a bitch dead. The death penalty is all about revenge, plain and simple.

Nobody ever discusses the death penalty and the effect it has on crime rates. They always say, "That fucker did what? Kill him! We can't let him get away with it. Kill him, so we can feel better about ourselves."

Personally, I think one dead innocent guy is too many. Mainly because, thanks to my awesome 20-30 yr old black male demographic, that innocent dead guy could very easily be me. Or my brothers. Just because somebody wanted revenge. And I can't be unkilled.

I agree that some of these fuckers should be killed, as I said, but I wouldn't want something as flawed as the American justice system making that decision. If I did some shit, then let whoever saw me come at me to collect that revenge. Otherwise, life in prison is plenty.

schmims said...

I just read "In Cold Blood" by Trueman Capote, one of if not the first true crime novel. Two guys get out of prision, meet up planning on robbing a wealthy family, and when their plan goes wrong, they end up killing four people. They were given the death sentence for their crime. They both knew killing another person was wrong and did it anyway. The Bible does say an eye for an eye. But it also says though shall not murder. Capote shows the human side of the condemed men in the fourth section of the book and how they had rough childhoods with alcoholic, abusive, absent parents. I felt sorry for the guys. Really, it was just sad.

The same day I finished reading this book, there was a guy on the Oprah show who had over the course of fifteen years, kidnapped five women and held them hostage in his basement to have sex with him every day. They were given a piece of plywood to sleep on and a bucket to use the bathroom in, and allowed to shower once a week. The guy was sentenced to life in prison and I sat there watching this guy interviewed on tv and as he spoke, I had so much hatered and outrage that he wasn't given the death penalty because he hadn't killed anyone. This sick bastard does not deserve to live.

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe if we had harsher punishments, there would be less crime.

schmims said...

I'm with Maine. Apparently we were commenting at the same time.

Bill said...

My personal veiw is also that the death penalty is too slow in action. Where I differ is solution. I say, if guilty and execution is the sentence, do it immediately, the judge and jury all push a button, 3 of which are live, and it is done. The appeal can come later. My one big stipulation is that perjury or evidence tampering that leads to a wrongful conviction and thus execution is also an executable offence.

And don't get me started on prisons as a deterent and punishment.

A.J. said...

I really don't care one way or the other, however his name reminds me of the old candy bar "twookies" and it sometimes makes me hungry. Whether he's alive or dead is not going to mpact my life one way or the other. Of course, by now he's dead, and gosh I just can't give a fuck! I'm not even for the death penalty, but he was a dick (on a biblical realm).

Oh, and April, or should I say Ms. Vice President, Anu kinda freaks me out a little. I think I'm getting blogstalked from India! Aren't there laws against that?

Mr Vholes said...

He never did actually "take responsibility for his mistakes," you know: He did say he regretted founding the Crips, but he never admitted he murdered those four people. That was a big factor in the governor's decision to deny clemency.

Maine, you're actually pretty close about it being the responsibility of the victims--in the old days in England before they had any organized constabulary or even public prosecutors, it was a victim's responsibility to catch the criminal, round up the witnesses, obtain the indictment, and pursue the case in court. I'm not sure how far or how long that applied to murder, but it did for most other crimes right into the 18th century.

Randi said...

Tookie turned it around in jail... so did my brother. Church on the daily for want of something better to do. Now that he's out - church? What's that. I don't know that death was the answer but he is a naughty boy and needed to pay for founding one of the most dangerous gangs around... leading to LOTS of murders. So there.

The Lily said...

The only problem with arguing that he wasn't taking (enough) responsibility for the four people he personally killed is whether or not the system proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he actually did it. I haven't read the details of the case, and frankly it's a moot point now.

I honestly think that the fact that he generated such an infamous and dangerous group is grounds for the death penalty just for all the heartache and chaos the Crips (and other gangs) have caused, regardless of how sorry he is to have done so. Sorry fixes nothing, especially the horrible gang movies based on the ongoing Crips and Bloods conflict.

And don't get me started on the celebrity element

Mojotek said...

Actually, I really tend to agree with you. It's hypocritical of course... but I know I'd feel the same. While I tend to lean towards the view that he shouldn't really have been executed, if he had murdered one of my family members I would have been chanting for his head too.

Meh, human nature...

pickett said...

I feel the need to weigh in on this one too. But I am really on the fence with this one.

I really feel that taking away someone else's rights, for example the right to live, takes that right away from you too. As the Bible says, an eye for an eye.

On the other hand, our criminal justice system does have flaws. The real challenge is the definition of "proof" and "reasonable doubt." There are so many loopholes and technicalities that can eliminate the smoking gun, and in the end, tax payers do end up forking over more by the time a death row inmate is put to death between the cost of prison and all of the appeals.

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