Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie: What's all the fuss about?

For the past few days, I have been completely shocked and disgusted at all of the news coverage that has been showered on a murderer in California, Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who is due to be executed tonight by lethal injection. Now that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied him clemency and the California supreme court denied his final appeal, it looks more and more like this execution is going to happen.

Michelle Malkin has been covering the Tookie story for the past several weeks, before it got plastered all over the front pages of the newspapers and mainstream news websites. While I sometimes disagree with Michelle on some issues, this is one I do not disagree with her on at all.

Even though I am a political moderate on many issues, I am very pro-death-penalty, especially in cases like this where the evidence is so strong. I believe that some crimes are just so heinous that the loss of one's own life is the only justifiable punishment. And, in the case of Tookie, this execution seems especially justified.

Tookie Williams is a cofounder and former leader of the notorious Crips street gang - a criminal organization responsible for hundreds if not thousands of deaths. Tookie himself was convicted of the cold-blooded murder spree described vividly in this CNN article:

On February 28, 1979, about 4 a.m., Williams and three friends got high on their psychedelic smokes and took two cars, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22-caliber handgun to Pomona in search of a place to rob, according to court documents. They ended up at a 7-Eleven where Albert Owens, 26, was working the overnight shift, sweeping the parking lot.

The military veteran was a "redheaded, freckle-faced kid who had the biggest smile you wanted to see," according to his older brother, Wayne Owens, 55, of Olathe, Kansas.

Albert Owens said, "Take everything you want," says the now-retired prosecutor, Robert Martin, who remembers the case in detail.

Williams ordered Owens into a back room at gunpoint, shot out a security monitor, then ordered, "Get down on your knees, (expletive)," and shot him twice in the back, according to testimony. Williams "later laughed about it as he was eating his hamburger," Martin says.

There were no witnesses other than accomplices.

Less than two weeks later, on March 11, Williams broke down the door at the Brookhaven Motel, ripping through four locks and shattering the molding, according to a prosecutor.

Killed were Yen-I Yang, 76; his wife, Tsai-Shai Yang, 63, and their visiting daughter, Yee-Chen Lin, 43. The Taiwanese immigrants were about to sell the business because the neighborhood had become too rough, Martin said.

And if that doesn't justify the death penalty, I don't know what does...

Over the past few years, Tookie Williams has tried to redeem himself by writing children's books and has gotten a few celebrities on his side, including actor Jamie Foxx, rapper Snoop Dogg (himself a former member of the Crips) and even South African archbishop Desmond Tutu. Williams has been the subject of a Hollywood movie about himself ("Redemption"), and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize six times (once by the Swiss parliament), and nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature once.

And yet, none of this erodes the fact that Tookie Williams is a mass murderer and the founder of a criminal organization that has killed many more than he killed himself. He is one of these people who would have done more for the world by never being born than what he has done in his life. For a man guilty of such heinous crimes, death is the only reasonable punishment. And, I do not understand how a man so undeserving has become such a rallying point for anti-death-penalty activists around the world.