Have you ever felt that you were in this world alone? Not by yourself, because there are always people around you, but alone in the way you think and experience life? No, this is not a commercial for Zoloft. This is a test of the Emergency Rational Thinking System (ERTS). Is yours functioning properly?
For the past month or so, many people, (especially Black people) have been up in arms about the Stanley “Tookie” Williams death row case. Of course we all know that Mr. Williams was executed pursuant to the laws of the State of California on December 13, 2005, but the story does not end there.
Now I seriously thought I could go about my business without commenting on the Tookie case; mainly because I thought that most people’s ERTS was operating at full power. Nevertheless, when I woke up this morning on this first day of Kwanzaa, I had to explore the reasons why on this day of unity, I view Tookie Williams as a criminal, yet so many other Black people view him as a hero.
“It's nine-fifteen on twelve-thirteen and another black king will be taken from the scene," exclaimed Snoop Dogg during the funeral services for Stanley Tookie Williams.
Wait! What? The first thing I need somebody to do is to explain to me how Tookie Williams, co-founder of the deadly Crips street gang was a king. Yes, he was a Black man, but a king does not that make him. Okay hold it, I’m going too fast, let’s back up. First we need to understand the positions; the who believes what and why. Here we go:
~Some folks believe Tookie was innocent.
~Some folks believe the death penalty is wrong no matter what.
~Some folks just wanted camera time.
~Some folks think the system is racist.
~Some folks think the punishment should fit the crime.
~Some folks believe that Tookie was a redeemed man and deserved clemency.
Was Tookie innocent?
I needed to know the evidence for myself before I wrote this piece. I sourced the case on WestLaw and found some very interesting information. I found that while Tookie’s proponents claimed that the witnesses that testified against Tookie were all jailhouse informants and/or accomplices themselves, the truth is that there were people who testified against Tookie who were not facing jail sentences nor were they criminals. There were regular folks that testified that Tookie purchased a shotgun at the Western Surplus store on Manchester and Western Avenue in Los Angeles. At trial, a firearms expert concluded that a shotgun shell found at the Brookhaven motel murder scene came from Tookie’s shotgun. Others testified that Tookie bragged about killing 4 people, including the 3 “buddaheads” on Vermont Avenue. Wow, he bragged about it. That is serious and sick all at the same time. Also, entered into evidence were notes that Tookie wrote from prison. Some notes detailed escape plans that included killing prison guards. Other notes indicated that Tookie wanted to kill Blackie (one of his accomplices in the 7-11 murder) because he felt Blackie was a punk who couldn’t eat after they had blown away their victim. Yeah, come to think of it, this sounds like stuff and innocent man would say.
“That's my role model, man. That's the CEO of the Crips," gleaned “Killowatt the Third” at Tookie’s funeral.
What’s wrong with the Death Penalty?
Candlelight vigils outside the prison gates, riddled with impassioned pleas to spare the life of someone who more than likely ignored the pleas of their victims who asked to be spared and allowed to live. Am I missing something here? Why should my tax dollars be used to allow a murderer or rapist the ability to work out in the prison weight room or watch the Soprano’s and Curb Your Enthusiasm while their victims lay six feet under - cold and dead?
Contrary to popular belief around this piece, I believe that unless you are severely retarded, you know the difference between right and wrong. When a man or a woman takes it upon themselves to blow three people away in cold blood for $100.00 and bragging rights in the streets of Los Angeles, that man or woman deserves to die the same way his or her victims died if not worse. All this lethal injection stuff is for the fricken birds. The victims don’t get to die with dignity so why should the perpetrators?
One reason many countries don’t have the crime that the United States has is because they don’t fuck around with coddling criminals. You steal; you get your hand cut off. You kill for no reason or for reasons unrelated to self-defense, you get killed right back. Here in the U.S., you can drive-by an apartment building, shoot 2 babies and an old lady while you listen to G-Unit, and even if you get caught, you can still get off with a 15 years-to-life sentence. Therefore, if someone wants to know what I think about the death penalty, I agree that it may not be applied fairly, but frankly, I also don’t believe it is applied enough.
Blame The System?
There are droves of people out there that believe we should blame the system for our black bad fortune. We all know that poverty, racism, lack of education, drug abuse and gang violence among other things are all products of a racially biased country called America and her system of treatment towards people of color. We know that! But where I have to draw the line is where people think that the system, while a contributing factor to our distress, can be used as an excuse for people to harm, kill, rob or otherwise destroy. For a criminal to make the lame excuse that “the system made me shoot that nigga” is ridiculous, but some people buy into it.
I went to the poorest high school in my city, but we had AP English, AP Physics and AP Calculus. I didn’t take the Calculus, but we had it. We had young men and women who grew up poor, but they weren’t trying to rob and murder people. Okay, we had some that were…but the majority were law-abiding citizens who went to school and tried to get a good education. Many of these students are successful today despite the obstacles they faced. How did they do that? How did they overcome? They had the will to do right. They knew right from wrong regardless of the system. The kids I knew that were in gangs, the Tookie’s of the schoolyard, they also knew right from wrong. They chose to do wrong and while it might not matter if they stole socks from the swap meet, when they escalated to non-defensible murder it was over. They had reached the point of no return and I for one had no sympathy for them.
The system kicks me in the face in some fashion on a daily basis, but I choose to fight the system back instead of knocking a bitch out, snatching her $100.00 chain and then blasting her in the back with a shotgun.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s conclusion…