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Thoughts on the execution of "Tookie"

By Scott Tibbs, December 18, 2005

Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed last week for murders he committed over two decades ago. His case had become the cause of the day for celebrities such as Snoop Doggy Dogg, who beat his own murder rap in the 1990's.

Over at National Review, Jonah Goldberg encourages supporters of "Tookie" to listen to themselves. I think Floppingaces.net has the most sobering reminder of who "Tookie" was. I advise caution before clicking on the picture of Yu-Chin Yang Lin, one of the people murdered by "Tookie". He shot her in the face, and the results are gruesome. World Net Daily reports on how "Tookie" behaved in prison:

* A violent fight with another inmate June 30, 1981, in which he repeatedly struck the prisoner while kneeling over him;

* A refusal to line up for a return to his cell Jan. 26, 1982, in which he threatened a guard;

* Throwing a chemical substance in the eyes of a guard Jan. 28, 1982, in an attack that resulted in chemical burns and emergency treatment;

* A second attack on a guard with a chemical substance Jan. 29, 1982;

* An attack on another inmate Feb. 16, 1984, in which Williams only stopped beating the prisoner when a warning shot was fired;

* A threat to kill a guard June 8, 1984;

* The beating of another inmate July 4, 1986 that only ceased when armed officers arrived on the scene;

* Another fight with an inmate that led to his own stabbing, reportedly retaliation for his ordering another inmate to be stabbed;

* His continued association with the Crips street gang led to administrative segregation Oct. 19, 1988;

* The beating of another inmate Dec. 24, 1991, that only stopped after a warning shot was fired;

* Another fight with other inmates July 6, 1993, in which a stabbing instrument (shank) was recovered.

There's no doubt in my mind that "Tookie" was guilty. The cries from his supporters that he was framed is wacko conspiracy-theory stuff.

Even if you buy the argument that "Tookie" has "reformed", that doesn't erase his guilt. He may have had true remorse for his crime (though it is important to remember that he never actually apologized) and truly wanted to make the world a better place. He may have, like serial killer Ted Bundy, confessed his sins to Jesus Christ and repented, and been given the gift of God's unmerited grace. But while Jesus forgives all those who come to Him, there is still a need for earthly justice that is not only allowed but commanded by God's Word.

In fact, "Tookie" should never have had the opportunity to "reform" because he should have been dead many years ago. David Bayly has a very good observation at the Bayly blog:

First, justice delayed is justice denied--for victims, society, and the guilty. If we are to continue prolonging death penalty appeals for decades, perhaps we should have no death penalty at all. The risk of executing the innocent weighs against precipitous haste in executing. But to execute a man 26 years after the crime does no one any good. Certainly, it's just half a death penalty when a man lives 26 years under sentence of death before execution.

Bayly is right. Our current system is a mockery of capital punishment. Opponents of capital punishment love to repeat the line that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. When you are likely to wait over two decades until you are executed with a good chance that you won't be executed at all, how could it be a deterrent?