Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics — Rick Moran @ 3:41 am

I was going to make this an update to my first Tookie Williams piece but Ed Morrissey’s compelling post called for a separate article on my behalf.

Ed is a rational anti-death penalty advocate:

Again, I oppose the death penalty, primarily on two grounds: religious and practicality. I don’t think the state should take a life unless the person represents a present threat to the safety and security of the public, or a threat to the national security of the US or our allies. I also don’t think that the death penalty saves us any money, and needlessly clogs our appellate courts with frivolous motions and delaying tactics. When we have the person locked up, he should stay locked up — and I mean locked up for good, and none of the Club Fed treatment, either. Three hots and a cot, and anything else depends on how well the prisoner behaves. That to me settles the entire case in a relatively expeditious manner without having twenty years of legal motions keeping the case alive.

Ed’s position holds a certain moral and practical attraction. And it is nothing if not consistent with his Roman Catholic faith for which he should be commended for adhering.

However, there is something deeper, more atavistic involved in society as a whole making a statement that taking a life in the fashion that Mr. Williams took 4 others will, after careful consideration and all due process, result in the forfieture of your own. It is more than justice. It is more than revenge. It is an accounting.

Ed believes that this accounting can be achieved by locking the perpetrator up for the rest of his life - true “life without parole.” I would say that first, this is a pleseant fantasy to believe this could be achieved. Already there is a growing unease among our intelligentsia and legal community that too many people are actually being given life sentences and, well, dying in jail. This New York Times article from 10/2/05 made me spit coffee through my nose when I read the headline:


It turns out that prosecutors and judges have been giving a wink and a nod to criminals when giving them a life sentence; they don’t really mean what they say. Now judges and even prosecutors are upset because mandatory sentencing guidelines have taken so much disgression away from them. Here’s what I wrote back then:

There’s a reason people are sentenced to life in prison. And while there may be a few exceptions to the so-called “Three strike” rule in sentencing (and these should be dealt with on a case by case basis) the fact is that sentencing guidelines are in place because too many judges and prosecutors think like the editors of the New York Times; that criminals are in jail not because they’re horrendously violent sociopathic thugs but because they are misunderstood by society or that they’re the wrong color or that they’ve spent time in jail and have actually “reformed” and gone straight.

This kind of thinking caused crime to skyrocket in the 1960’s – 1980’s. It wasn’t until legislatures and the Congress passed mandatory sentencing laws that crime finally began to drop. Yes judges complain they have little leeway in sentencing anymore. But that decision wasn’t taken in a vacuum. It was because judges routinely abused their positions to foist their ideas about crime and society on the rest of us that those laws were passed in the first place.

The point I would like to make to Ed and other rational anti-death penalty advocates, is that as a practical matter, life in prison is a non-starter. The forces at work to free the criminal and get him back on the street are growing not shrinking. When leading criminologists point out that 10 years is considered a long sentence in Europe, you know we are in trouble.

As for the moral argument - especially one involving doctrine - well, you have me there. But the idea that the death penalty is merely state sponsored murder or even just societal revenge is dead wrong. It is a trap door by which a healthy society rids itself of its diseased parts. This accounting is necessary not to deter crime or to give closure to the families of victims, but because it is a rational way to approach the simple problem of dealing with people who have demonstrated that they do not deserve to enjoy the fruits of living in our society - even Ed’s “three hots and a cot.” Who makes that determination? A jury of his peers, acting on our behalf, finding guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Ed does hit the nail on the head here:

If the celebrities want to do something about the death penalty, I’d suggest trying to convince Californians that LWOP means no release, ever, under any circumstances except innocence. They could start by ending their peculiar practice of promoting the murderers as heroes and ignoring their victims. Once the public no longer has to listen to ridiculous arguments about the brilliance and courage of people who shoot helpless victims in the back and can focus on the issues of the death penalty itself, then perhaps we can convince people that we can live without executions and all the lunacy they entail.

Well said and I would add something I mentioned in my last post; until we can figure out how to level the playing field in the criminal justice system for people of different economic backgrounds (not race), the death penalty should be a rarity indeed. It is a blot on the ideas of liberty and freedom that someone’s guilt or innocence can be gleaned by how high the stack of money they are able to place on the scales of justice.


Michelle Malkin has the react from blogs and MSM. She links to this powerful piece by Baldilocks who echoes some of my thoughts below about what Mr. Williams hath wrought in South Central LA and elsewhere:

Leaving aside those who oppose the death penalty for moral/religious reasons, few of you have seemed motivated to move into my South Central LA neighborhood to see what “Tookie” and his Crip co-founder Raymond Lee Washington (who’s burning in Hell right now) have wrought for the last thirty-odd years. And I know that you won’t be choosing to live here anytime soon. That’s understandable; however, don’t tell me that we should coddle these TERRORISTS like “Tookie” and those he created if you don’t have to put up with them. (Okay, you can tell me, but you can expect a barely polite response and that’s if I’m feeling generous.)

Secondly—and this is especially for people like Jeremy: black people are thinking, functioning humans who, when adult and without some actual mental deficiency that they can’t control, are just as responsible for their actions as are members of any other race of people. We’re not murderers by nature (that is, any more than any other set of humans are). Therefore, we don’t need a separate, lower standard of behavior in any area, whether it’s education, employment or criminal justice.

Holding Mr. Williams responsible for the activities of the Crips gang is something apparently beyond the capacity of the celeberities, apologists, and other Tookie supporters who ignore the role Mr. Williams’ creation has played in the sacking of inner cities.

The Anchoress has some surprising thoughts on coverage of Tookie and coverage of the new pope:

But when I heard on the radio the ubiquitous Jesse Jackson talking about Tookie’s “strength” as though he was some sort of martyr (Political Teen has video) I just couldn’t help thinking to myself…when Cardinal Ratzinger became Benedict XVI, he couldn’t BUY this sort of sympathetic coverage. While tonight we hear about how Tookie “did more good than harm,” all we heard last April was that the new pope was a hardcase - relentless and inflexible and probably mean, too.

When I got home, I said all of this to my husband and he - not a man given to scripture quotation - said, “in those days men will call good evil and evil good…”

That’s a thought.



  1. I grew up in a gang infested area. Crips and bloods and the vato’s battled it out in and around my neighborhood for the rights to sell drugs and stand on certain corners.

    I was jumped more than once by these groups for having the balls to ride my bike on a busy public street to the store, simply because I was white. I have the svars inside of my lips from a roundhouse delivered from behind me, while taking blows from the boys that surrounded me.

    I have no sympathy for gang members. They choose the life, they should live with the consequences of their actions.

    Good riddance to Tookie, and all of his bretheren that have gone before and shall come after him. May the bowels of hell be ever expansive for their blackhearted kind.

    Comment by kender — 12/13/2005 @ 4:29 am

  2. A convicted murderer should die, if a doubt can be determined then life sentence and argue the case, not perfect, but a dead murderer will not re-offend.

    Comment by stackja — 12/13/2005 @ 6:37 am

  3. Obligatory “Tookie Williams Is Dead” Post

    Redemption. If redemption is possible in such a open-and-shut case as Mr. Williams’, then that is God’s business. Man’s business is to enforce man’s laws.

    Trackback by TMH's Bacon Bits — 12/13/2005 @ 8:16 am

  4. There Goes The Quintessential Tookie

    After last minute appeals were denied, and after a Governor took extraordinary measures to review the case and the arguments by both sides, Tookie Williams, murderer and co-founder of the Crips gang in LA was silenced last night by lethal

    Trackback by Joust The Facts — 12/13/2005 @ 11:08 am

  5. Crips Gang Co-Founder Executed in Calif.

    Los Angeles Gang Co-Founder Stanley Tookie Williams Executed After Appeals Fail

    Trackback by Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator — 12/13/2005 @ 11:54 am

  6. Tookie is murder by the governor of california,came over america to follow the same as they used do around the world by capture and kill innocent people by using force to make them that it s ok to kill, but day we will face the really, of the racism and others.
    When we lived the tragedy of new orleance, sudan and Haiti where, human right violation as been violated.
    No one interven to stop that.
    But Toobie died but is lagacy will continue.
    As nobel price of human right.
    thank u thats all i have to say

    Comment by schneider arcelin — 12/13/2005 @ 2:06 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress