Stanley 'Tookie' Williams

I just was wondering what everyone thought about what happened to him and the whole issue surrounding him. If you thought he was wronged and should have lived, or his past crimes were too sever to be made up for.

personally I feel that he should have been released. He was doing what he could to stop gangs, he 9 wrote children’s books against gangs. With all his work he even got a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

so once again what is everyone else’s opinions on the subject

a bit of background can be found here

I personally do not support the death penalty (and not just because I am African-American. But because I do not think it deters crime) but WIlliams should be held responsible for the crimes he was found guilty of no matter how much he reformed. He may have changed but his four victims will never get to grow (or even fail) as people and for that he should still be punished for his crime.

He was found guilty of multiple murders in multiple appeals

but he never admitted his guilt, which means he never apologized for his crimes. Remorse? if he says he was innocent then for what was he remorsefull?

From what I have read in the last few days he lived a very violent life, and never confessed to any crimes, so it sounds like he was dancing on the fence.

If he never commited any crimes, and he was the founder of the Crips, then being in a gang is not = to being involved in a violent criminal organization, right?

you cant have it both ways, but that is the role he was trying to play.

He should have still been held accountable for his crimes. The way I see it, he was already on borrowed time. If the system was efficient enough, he wouldn’t have had time to reform. Look at it this way: if someone gets life without parole, do they get released if they change?

A lot of people were using this case as a means to protest the death penalty. Personally, I feel that they were going about it the wrong way. He was already sentenced. If you don’t like the death penalty, you need to work to get rid of it as a whole, not by trying to defend individuals.

Actually he was a co-founder of the Cribs, which became the Crips. Anyway, I’d have given him life. (life not 40yrs actually life) Not because he is “reformed” or anything, but because I personally think life is worse. I’d much rather get an injection and die (if I was guilty) than spend the rest of my lifespan in a prision.

The notion of becoming more efficient at killing people is terrifying.

Honestly, the world is a better place after his execution…

Mr. Williams was a founder of the Crips gang and was arrested and charged with the brutal killings of 4 innocent people. There was sufficient evidence to sentence him with the death penalty. That’s a very high burden.

While in prison he wrote children’s books. He has claimed he is sorry for starting the Crips. Whoopdey-doo! Anyone who thinks that he has redeemed himself needs a reality check.

Here’s what Mr. Williams has also done:

  • He refuses to offer any information about the Crips structure or the identity of any other Crips members. He has never said he did not want to continue being a Crips member. It has been thought he was still running the gang from prison.
  • Shortly after being incarcerated he attacked guards and other inmates. He needed to be put in solitary confinement.
  • In the dedication section of one of his children’s books
    he honors George Jackson, a prominent member of the Black Panther Party. - After being found guilty of the murders he threatened the jurors.
  • He has never apologized or shown any remorse for the murders.

Various news stories are reporting in the execution room witnesses invited by Mr. Williams showed their respect by holding their clenched fists in the air, a salute used by the Black Panther Party.

This is a perfect example of how activists, the media and celebrities pollute the justice system. Making “Tookie” sound like the next Dr. Seuss- unbelievable. This was a very bad man, and the system worked.

Wikipedia has a good article on Stanley Williams.

There are legitimate arguments in favor and against capital punishment and it’s something that really can’t be adequately observed in a study, since you really can’t know who it deters from crime or if it even does. Personally, I don’t care if the death penalty deters crime or not. I don’t think that our society can truly value the human life by condoning the death penalty, especially for people who are pro-life when it comes to abortion (unless their only concern is to try to increase the theoretical ‘pro-life’ voting block, while not actually caring about the human life itself). It’s ridiculous to think that you can value life by taking one out of vengeance. This doesn’t necessitate moral behavior or thought, in my not so humble opinion it makes you a LESS moral person.

Our prison system is supposed to be intended as a rehabilitation system for criminals and those wrongly convicted (don’t kid yourself by thinking that all people convicted of crimes actually committed them) as well as a punishment. Sadly, the feelings of the majority of Americans don’t seem to parallel the intent of the justice system, not to mention all the inequities that are in plain view within all the other facets of the system (aside from the prison system). As I was told by a prosecuting attorney for the state of California (who happens to be a friend), “if a person wasn’t a criminal heading into prison, they sure are when they come out.” I’m absolutely disgusted by the entire system, and especially capital punishment. Killing people should only be done as a last resort when your own life is at risk, not as a whim, not as a punishment, not as a deterrent, not as a means to get something you want, and most certainly not out of blind vengeance.

In this particular case, I think it’s an even worse mark on our country’s and especially my state’s record since the man was actually giving back to the disillusioned youth, adolescents, and adults who might possibly be lured by the gang life.



Please tell me you’re kidding. Life without parole, I would be fine with, but released?

People have been incarcerated for life, and executed for far lesser offenses than murdering 4 people in cold blood.

It costs us far more to execute people than to just keep them in prison for the rest of their lives. We can’t even prove that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. People still kill each other, don’t they?

If he has truly reformed, good for him. I don’t think he should have gotten the death penalty in the first place, but it’s absurd to think that someone can atone for murdering four people, and starting one of the most violent enterprises in the world that corrupts a good portion of our youth, just by writing children’s books.

He can write all the books he wants, and do all the good he can–from inside the walls of a prison. He can never fully atone for taking the lives of four innocent human beings, however.

So basically…I thought he should have gotten life in prison without parole to start with, and I really don’t care what he’s done since then to enrich lives–the only way he should be leaving prison is in a casket when he dies.

Anyone can be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. All you need is a letter from a lawyer, and you are nominated (According to a reporter I heard last night). I am personally opposed to the death penalty and feel that life in prison is a much more harsh punishment. In no way should he have even been given a parole hearing. He refused to apologize for his crimes, and would not provide information on the Crips.

I know that this is chit-chat, however I am issuing a caution. To this point the thread is fine, opinions are being expressed and ideas being debated. That is good.

Since this is such a sensitive issue I ask that this thread keep in mind that opinions are good to have as long as they are expressed in the proper way.

Keep it calm. keep it sane, keep it within the forum rules please.

He murdered four people in cold blood. He should be glad that he is being executed humanly, his victims were not given that opportunity.

This is accurate. The simple act of being nominated for a Nobel Prize is essentially meaningless; most such submissions are rejected early in the screening process. (You could nominate Saddam Hussein for a Nobel Peace Prize; in fact, some crackpot probably has.) The odds are very high that Mr. Williams’ nomination was rejected swiftly, as Nobel Peace Prizes generally go to much more notable figures.

I’m in agreement with Bill’s position on this point. The death penalty is a messy and uncivilized way of approximating vengeance.

[political disclaimer]
I will keep my personal views on this issue private because I have learned that for me at least, it is best not to discuss politics with others. It tends to turn into a large debate that only causes hard feelings, something I definitely want to avoid. The opinions I am writing here may or may not be my own, I am simply trying to illustrate a point. The issues of abortion and the death penalty can be very different, depending on how you look at it. I’ll take the role of the anti-abortion pro-death penalty citizen here, and try to demonstrate how these two positions, which may seem contradictory to begin with, can be reconciled.
[/political disclaimer]

The death penalty is a punishment devised to punish those who have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have comitted an unforgiveable crime, such as coldhearted murder. The issues with the death penalty are whether it is humane to kill someone no matter what they have done, and whether the death penalty is effective in detering crime.

Abortion is the pratice of eliminating an unborn fetus at some point during pregnancy. The fetus has certainly not comitted any crimes, and killing it will obviously not deter many criminals! These are the problems associated with the death penalty, and it is evident they do not apply to abortion. The issue with abortion is whether the fetus should count as a human being or not.

Because these are two entirely different issues, it follows that someone could have a certain opinion on one, and an entirely different opinion on another with no contradictions between them.

Does this logic seem strange to anyone else or is it only me?

If its wrong to kill humans, then its always wrong to kill humans. Killing someone else to save your own life should not be the only exception to this rule. If you really feel its wrong to take someone elses life then the opposite should apply: you should sacrifice your own life to save the life of the other person. Even if the other person is the one who kills you.

Would that not be the highest standard to live up to (if you really feel that life is sacred?) Killing someone else to save your own life, isnt that nothing more than self-preservation? Where is the morality in self preservation at all costs?

Some day we may all have phasers set to stun, and when someone is out of control we can subdue them without harming them, and without risking our own lives, and then restrain or confine that person until they are reprogrammed/ rehabilitated / reformed / renewed / reborn… whatever it takes to make them safe to release into society again.

But until that day, anyone with $129 can walk into Walmart and buy a lethal weapon, sit on an overpass or hill, and take many human lives.

People have been killing each other for all of recorded history. Nobody likes this fact, but it is a part of human nature. Fear of punishment is one of the few tools we have to keep civilization intact. Justice.

While you certainly can choose to call a fetus a collection of cells, or a human life, pro life advocates choose the latter.

Bill’s point is how can you justify killing a human being for one reason, when you can’t justify killing a “human” (undeveloped fetus) for another reason?

All we show when we execute prisoners is that we’re no better than them. We may have killed them in a more humane manner than they did their victims, but that’s about it.

There’s absolutely no evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. We are one of the few civilized nations that actually puts people to death, and we still have an absurdly high rate of violent crimes compared to many of these countries that don’t use the death penalty.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, and an eye for an eye will eventually blind the entire world.

You need to do some research on this. China has the death penalty for drug abuse, and they have the lowest drug abuse rate in the world.

Look at Iraq before Saddam was removed from power. He was a brutal dictator who would involke capitol punishment at the drop of a hat. People lived in fear for their lives, and it kept them in line. Remember how the Iraqis looted for weeks when his government fell?

Extreem examples, but none the less: when people actually believe they will be put to death for their crimes, the crime rate is lower.

By that same note, do some more research, Ken, and note that in the EU capital punishment is outlawed and they have a lower homicide rate than the USA. Go fish, dude.

Sadly, he can. Look at United States’ “interpretation” of the term “torture.” “Oh… it’s okay to torture as long as it’s not done on our domestic soil. We’ll just open up CIA prison camps in Europe and Guantanamo Bay so that we can legally get away with any kind of behavior we want.” This is inarguable and irrefutable. Don’t even bother, Ken and others.

Ugh. This thread is going to get out of hand one way or another. I’m tired of feeling I have to defend my position against people who are incapable of thoughtful dialogue. Say good-bye to Bill Gold’s opinion, because apparently none of you seem to deserve it… at least until you guys ■■■■ me off enough to come back and set some people straight.

Ken, I’d like to see some proof that capital punishment is an effective deterrent here in the US.

China and Iraq are not good examples. Both countries rountinely oppress their citizens who essentially have no rights. Capital punishment surely is an effective deterrent there, because people live in constant fear of the government. When was the last time you felt compelled to keep your mouth shut about an opinion you had of the president? You probably haven’t, because we know we aren’t going to be put to death.

Furthermore, it’s not an arbitrary process here. Criminals know that even if they kill multiple people, it’s not a sure thing that they’ll even be convicted, or sentenced to death, and if they were, they can spend 20 years appealing. So really…I’m not seeing any supreme fear of being put to death.

Do you think people living under Saddam even knew what a trial, letalone an appeal was? We don’t go around killing people on a whim, so I’m really at a loss as to how you can invoke any meaningful comparison here.

China would probably be considered a borderline “civilized country” by some. They’re one of the worst human rights offenders in the world. Again, how can you compare us?

I’m not surprised that one might consider it strange, but perhaps this will clarify my interpretation of it. I’ve assumed that the avoidance of killing is by no means an immutable law of nature, but rather a construct of society. Interpreting it in that light, it is a practical matter, rather than one of absolute morality. I would conjecture that these conventions tend to keep society from falling into disarray, and on that basis alone, there is significant merit. But that doesn’t make them inviolable. (Conveniently, this opens the door to all sorts of extrapolations with respect to relative morality being abused in grevious ways. I’m not advocating any of that, and neither am I prepared to state in absolute terms exactly what actions I would consider to be moral—there are far too many considerations, and every judgment is made on the balance of the factors in play at that time, rather than on a codified set of axioms.)

I’m not going to go so far as to say that it is impossible to concieve of a situation where, on balance, a killing is warranted, but I think it is sufficiently clear that in the vast majority of circumstances, there are better options.

There is inarguably some truth to this, but so far you’ve demonstrated correlation, not causation. There’s much more that needs to be shown, before I would accept those conclusions, as stated.

Uh-oh… :ahh:

Edit: Here’s an interesting article on the original subject of the thread. I think it offers the fairest portrayal of the events so far; no false heroes, no false villains—just an honest appraisal.