Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie's Last Book

Gang Murderer Tookie Williams will soon be executed, more than 26 years after he brutally killed four people.

Opponents of the death penalty want Tookie's life to be spared because, they say, he is a changed man, and he has done so much good during his twenty years on death row. He has written books encouraging kids to not join gangs. At the same time, he refuses to give law enforcement authorities the information which could help them shut down the lawless gang he founded.

But nothing that a murderer does in prison after being sentenced to death should affect the carrying out of the sentence. For one thing, there is no proof that his reform is genuine. Secondly, writing books does not bring back the people he killed. If Tookie is genuine in his regret for his actions, and if he actually has influenced kids to not join gangs, I extend my thanks to him, as they swab his arm with alcohol before they insert the needle. Got to avoid infection, you know.

For justice to be done, the sentence must be carried out. But if Tookie is really concerned about influencing kids in South Central LA to not join gangs, he has just enough time to write one more short book. In this book he can describe how he founded the Crips, how he killed people, and how he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. He can talk about how he wasted his life. He can tell kids who are considering joining a gang what it is like to spend twenty six years sitting on death row. Then he can tell them about the ultimate consequence for what he did: how tonight he will be strapped to a gurney, a needle inserted into his vein, and lethal drugs pumped into his body. Perhaps there will be a few kids who would read that book and see that justice is done in spite of Tookie claim to be reformed, and they will decide not to join a gang.

Tookie's life was wasted, but perhaps his death would not be wasted. What happens tonight is the most powerful anti-gang statement Tookie will ever make.

1 comment:

scott p. said...

Well said, Don. Each of us carry painful reminders of the past - just as a serious wound leaves a scar to remind us of that injury.

The reality of our past is not erased by our present regret whether it is sincere or not.

What seems to be ignored by the Hollywood/Washington elite is the fact that this man is a murderer and those that were killed didn't receive an opportunity to "make things right."

What would his victims have accomplished? Would they invent something that transformed our world? Would one of them have discovered a cure for a dreaded disease? Would they write an award winning book or win the Peace prize? We will never know because "Tookie" murdered them and now, at least in this case, there is justice for all.