Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No redemption

Tookie Williams was executed early this morning. An admitted criminal (though he continued to deny being involved in the murders he was ultimately put to death for), Williams was the co-founder of the Crips, but I believed experienced in prison what he was sent there for.


This was a man who was a gangster, but went on to become a Nobel Peace Prize nominee as well as a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature. He turned his back on his life of crime and in fact wrote children’s books with a strong anti-gang message. In short, I think he was an example of how this prison system is supposed to work: it's as much about reform and a chance for redemption as it is about punishment. By executing him, that reform was for naught.

One of the respondents to a CNN telephone poll put it very well: "Why should we kill a productive member of society? There are too few of them as it is." Many questioned the sincerity of Williams' reform. But would his sincerity have even been relevant if his sentence had been commuted to life in prison? He would still be alive to write more books and preach his anti-gang message (sincere or not), yet would still be safely in prison (to quell the fears of those who would assume he would return to his criminal ways).

This was revenge.

I saw many "Read the Bible: An eye for an eye" posters amongst the pro-death penalty protesters. What about "Thou shalt not kill"? There’s no caveat that says, "except for somebody that killed somebody".

By killing Tookie Williams, we denied the man a chance at reform and redemption (and, in fact, negated a true example of reform). Even if the changes he manifested were false (which I don’t believe they were), he will now never have the chance to truly change.

Hear this:

Blue Sky Research - MP3 Compilation
(glitchy ambiences)

DJ Throttler - MP3 Compilation 1
(aggro as fuck)

A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step
(the amazing Maynard continues)

Hardfloor - Respect
(bubble bubble blurb blurb)

DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo - Ki-Oku
(down with the sound underground)


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