Monday, December 12, 2005

Clemency for Tookie Williams

According the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word "clemency" means "a: the disposition to be merciful and especially to moderate the severity of punishment due b: an act or instance of leniency."

Tookie Williams has already received clemency. Since being convicted of murdering four individuals who had done him no wrong - they just happened to be in his way - Tookie Williams has been given 24 years. He has had a bed to sleep in, three square meals a day, an opportunity to exercise and to visit with his friends and family. He's been able to make phone calls and watch television and work. He has been able to collaborate with others to write books. He has met with well known people in the political, musical and acting arenas. He has had a movie made about his life. Unbelievably, he has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize - more than once. He has web pages devoted to drumming up support for him. Most people recognize his name.

Tookie Williams has already received clemency. Since the day Tookie Williams brutally murdered them, his four victims have been dead. End of their stories. Tookie offered them no clemency, no death with dignity, no opportunity for a last visit with friends or family or even for a final meal or a prayer. He ridiculed the death gurgles of one young victim. Few people know their names, and few are mourning their deaths.

Tookie Williams has already received clemency. He has had 24 years - almost the equivalent of the entire lifetime of the young convenience store worker he killed.

Some worry about the message that Tookie's death will send to children and young people. Tookie Williams' death will teach them that there are consequences for murder - that no matter who protests on your behalf, eventually you must pay the price. Children will learn that they must consider those consequences before commiting a crime rather than murdering first and reforming later.

A death sentence is a horrible thing, but unlike his victims, his death will be merciful. Tookie Williams will get his last meal and his last visit and prayer with clergy. Instead of being threatened and painfully shot like his victims, he will experience a pain-free death - a death he earned when he willfully and mercilessly and brutally took the lives of four other unique and precious human beings.

Tookie Williams has already received clemency.

Other blog posts on the subject:
Baldilocks has phenomenal posts HERE and HERE. (The first link is long but worth the read.) She has an older post HERE as well.

Beth at Merry Christmas has some choice words for Arnold.

Larry at Blame Bush! writes that Swarzenegger to terminate beloved children's author.

The Anchoress has some insights - as does her husband.

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