Friday, December 02, 2005


Lessons in Legacy

Clemency for a Crip? - New York Times: "A judge has set Dec. 13 as the execution date for Stanley Williams, the co-founder of the Crips street gang, who was convicted on four counts of murder in 1981. During his years in prison, Mr. Williams, who is known as Tookie, has become a voice against violence, writing children's books that urge youngsters to avoid gangs. His judicial appeals have been exhausted, and now Mr. Williams's only hope appears to lie in a grant of executive clemency by the governor."

Before all of this clemency talk, I had never heard of Tookie or his books. Interestingly, I had heard of his greater legacy, the Crips. With all of these famous names backing clemency, they seem to ignore that beyond the conviction and fruitless appeals, he is also known to be a prison rapist many times over. That alone should get him the needle. Being a Nobel Peace Prize nominee is not a reason to spare his life. His books clearly aren't well known to anyone but these famous folks. Looking around the country, I haven't heard of a lot of gang-bangers changing their lives after reading these books. If there were, they would be highlighted in all of this clemency chatter.
I am not sure how I feel about the death penalty. I am actually fine with life sentences as it would save states loads of appeals time and money. While we have the death penalty, however, and he has been sentenced to such, we should follow through as his legacy is weighing more on the negative than on the positive.

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