Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What Took "Tookie" Under? Part II

As I suspected, some subscribers were so incensed by part I of the Death Penalty article that they flicked me off. They unsubscribed - wanting no more of my oratory now that it doesn’t match their particular point of view on the issue. Okay so it was only two people that kicked rocks. But 17 minus 2 means there are only 15 of you left. Well, what can I do? I definitely have no intention of censoring my thoughts for the sake of audience retention. Maybe I misinformed myself when I started this column 5 years ago. Back then, I pondered that perhaps the reason why we are segregated as a people is because we don’t communicate. We follow the first fellow with a big mouth instead of formulating our own individual hypotheses and then coming to the round table so that each voice may be heard. I for one am of the belief that we don’t always have to agree in order to have an understanding. Here’s part II…

A gang member who shot two teens while they were attending a carnival in Jefferson Park on November 13 has been arrested. Jason Walton, 21, was apprehended near the 5000 block of Pico Boulevard around 5 p.m. Wednesday night. William Cox and Edward Williams were shot as they stood outside a street carnival at 2nd Avenue and Rodeo Road Walton allegedly shot the two boys after mistaking them for gang rivals. Neither victim had any gang affiliation. -Associated Press (AP)

Shouldn’t The Punishment Fit The Crime?

When it comes to the death penalty, over and over again we’ve all heard the statement, “but that won’t bring the dead person back.” Well that my dear individuals is a true statement. Putting a murderer to death will not bring the person or persons they’ve killed back to the living. Nonetheless, if people use that “won’t bring’ em back” rational to support their position on whether we should put murderers to death, we might as well just let people kill at will and let the chips fall where they may.

So let’s think this through for a second. What would be a “good” punishment for a cold-blooded killer? Perhaps we could dig a hole and throw the miscreant down the shaft without food and water? Or, should we give him 3 squares a day and a pack of Pall Malls? The American justice system is truly flawed, that is certain. A man sells crack and gets a mandatory 15-year sentence while another man sells cocaine or heroin and gets probation. That shit happens. We all know why and we all know it is unfair. But abolishing the harshest of penalties used for the harshest of crimes surely isn’t the fix we’re in need of.

Let’s take Jeffrey Dahmer for example: it is ridiculous to believe that this evildoer was sentenced to life in prison after it was proven that he ate people. HELLO! This fool ate people, then stacked their bones in his freezer and he got life? He could have written children’s books and rallied against other people eaters after he got caught, but that could never change the fact that he noshed on humans and then put their leftovers in his freezer next to the frozen broccoli. What kind of redemption could ever make up for those inhumane acts? Fortunately, Dahmer got the death penalty from his fellow inmates who knew exactly what capital punishment was all about.

A Racist System Exists

Do people get convicted of crimes they didn’t commit? Yes, they do. Do people get framed? Surely! But each case must be reviewed upon its own merits. Are we really supposed to believe that every drive-by shooter was framed by the police? Don’t even try it. I’ve known some drive-by shooters in my day and they managed to go about their business plenty fine without any help from five-o. Some folks will say that putting killers to death isn’t going to stop others from committing murder. Would anything?

Here’s a suggestion, let’s cut to the chase. We can definitely push for reforms to current laws that are unfair and racially biased. We can be sure that we are active and vote when it comes time to select new judges and lawmakers who appoint new and old judges. But when all is said and done, and the evidence at the trial and the re-trial and the appeal and second and third appeal says “you’re guilty,” let’s have a tribal counsel. Yep, just like on Survivor. The difference in this tribal counsel however will be that the tribe is your tribe. Mexicans get a Mexican tribe, Black folks get a Black tribe, (no Negroes and no niggas though) Asians get Asian tribe members and White folks get White folks. I’m not meaning this as a joke, I’m serious. Negroes and Black folks need to stop making excuses for the criminals in our midst. We should not be afraid of the police; we should join the force and change the game. There are not enough Black police officers, but there sure are an abundance of Black thugs roaming the streets. We cannot change anything from the sidelines or the alleyways or with those ridiculous candlelight vigils. Why not be vigil in our neighborhoods? If you know who shot the man at the liquor store, stand up and say something. When you are treated badly in a store, boycott! When you are disenfranchised, start your own franchise, but don’t make excuses for proven criminals and then blame it on a racist society – that is unacceptable.

Looking For Camera Time?

Lashonda Johnson, 27, tearfully recalled the last day she saw her husband, Charles Thomas, who was shot on April 17 at 10:15 p.m. Thomas was talking to friends in the 6400 block of South Victoria Avenue when a suspect in a burgundy Chevrolet Camaro shot Thomas twice. One of the bullets pierced Thomas’ liver. Fourteen days later, Thomas died of renal failure. “I had talked to him that night shortly before 10 p.m. and he said he was on his way home,” said Johnson, a newlywed who had been married to Thomas for six months before his murder. “He was such a good person, always smiling. I still can’t believe he’s gone. Someone knows who killed him and they’re not saying anything. I won’t get any rest until the killer is found.” from AP

Anybody care about Lashonda? Hey, Jesse Jackson! I know none of this is your fault, but just out of curiosity, where were you when someone put a bullet through Lashonda’s husband’s liver? What about the day or even the year before Charles got shot? Where were you? We all heard you preach at Tookie Williams’ funeral, but why haven’t you been so vehement on a daily basis? I saw the Fruit of Islam providing security at Mr. Williams’ funeral. But where was the Fruit of Islam during the 38 shootings and four murders that took place recently in the 77th division of Los Angeles? I know Minister Farrakhan had nothing to do with these crimes, but I’m just trying to figure out why folks are so busy trying to save the life of a guy who’s responsible for making people dead? C’mon Snoop Dogg, your behavior is incongruous with rational behavior. Now maybe you had a kindred spirit relationship with Tookie Williams because you’re both from the same set, (well, same parent company so to speak) but how can you claim that you are teaching kids the right way yet you still glorify being in a gang? Remember this?
~
If you play me close, you're on a red beam
Oh you got a gun so you wanna pop back?
AK47 now nigga, stop that!
Cement shoes, now I'm on the move
You're family's crying, now you on the news
They can't find you, and now they miss you
Must I remind you I'm only here to twist you
Pistol whip you, dip you then flip you
Then dance to this motherfucking music that we crip to
Snoop Dogg lyrics to Drop It Like It’s Hot – released November 2004

What is Redemption?

Citing Williams’ past history of getting high on PCP and mental instability, Smith said that the former gang leader’s execution was unjust. “It troubles my spirit,” said Smith. “I felt it was unfair. I felt that it was unfair because PCP played a major part in his life at that time. I knew about that way before the murder occurred. He wasn’t himself. He was going through a lot of mental instability. It’s troublesome to see this brother lying there. I brought Tookie to the Crips organization. It didn’t start off being so damaging to our culture. That red and blue stuff is the death to our culture.” Zane Smith speaking outside of Tookie Williams’ funeral
~
You might say that redemption is a form of deliverance. Maybe, I don’t know. I think each soul has their own individual idea of what redemption means. Was Tookie Williams a redeemed man? That is not for me to say. There may be plenty of people imprisoned for heinous crimes who have asked for forgiveness and tried to change their evil thoughts and actions - yeah, it’s possible. But that is not enough to make up for the harm and pain that criminals have already caused. There are many contributing factors that play into why someone who could have been great goes bad. But making excuses for why they went bad is not an excuse for the bad deeds they've done.
~
Granted, this is not about the guy who stole rims on 125th street, or even about the woman who shot her husband the after he beat her for the 13th time. No, this is about the guy who raped the 6-year-old girl in Virginia. This is about the men who blew up 4 little girls in Birmingham. This is about how the victims suffer more than those that inflict devastation. This is about parenting as a villiage and teaching everyone's children (including your own) the consequences of their actions before they become deviant. This is about people turning on their Emergency Rational Thinking Systems, and instead of spending today worrying about those who have already committed unprovoked murder, how about spending today worrying about warning the innocent victim who will be shot by a criminal tomorrow.

12 comments:

King Of Hearts said...

Greetings for New Year!

Anonymous said...

Waset,

I don't always agree with you, but sometimes I'm swayed by your arguments. I am not for the death penalty - at least I wasn't before reading this series. But now I am honestly having some second thoughts. I don't think I ever explored why I didn't agree with it. It sounds like what you are saying is we have to take responsiblity for our own actions -regardless of what the system is going to do. One black man framed by the police doesn't give two other black men the right to go shoot up a party. I'm feeling that and I'll get back to you on the death penalty thing. Peace

Warren G.

Anonymous said...

"Back then they didn't know you but when you're HOT they gonna be all on you!! WAZIZZLE DIZZLE 4 PREZIDIZLE!!!

p.s. "TOOKIE" is gone let the dead rest!

Anonymous said...

Waa, baby..
Keep speaking your mind, they will be back.. We all have a right to our opinion, right or wrong.. Arguments (often called debates) are to convince or share with a person the way we think.. There will be times where it is virtually impossible for you to share a comment and say everything a person wants to hear, this is one good example.. Remember there are closed minded individuals out here in the world.. And I know you know this..
"I for one am of the belief that we don’t always have to agree in order to have an understanding".

I still love you...
B's_Mind

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts first. Our people as you know are the most forgiving set of people on this earth, its like white people saying I am sorry and meaning it and thinking it o.k. now cause I said I was sorry, and for all the other reasons you stated. Listening to some one else making a statement and agreeing to it and spreading it. I love my people but he did the crime, I thinnk he might have been sorry but time was up.
Excellent article and GOD knows true. I won't deleted you and keep up the good work. I got your back.
J. Hill, Nashvile, Tenn.

Jalaea V.-Fan of "The Power Journal"... said...

Waset,

THis is my first time actually blogging a response to your articles, but this one was powerful to me. I feel that you are indeed very opinionated, and i appreciate you for that..cause your book is banging!! However, i feel that the death penalty should be reserved for the Dahmer's of our day..this is not to say that our people dont get ignorant, but i dont feel that its the same circumstance. Tookie Williams did committ murder, but he also assisted in a truce between Bloods and Crips. I dont feel that a 14-year-old banger who was high on any and every..should be put to death so many years later for something that was probably done based on pure ignorance and adrenaline. Keep him locked up..hell yeah. But if a man is trying is hardest to change and show other people that he has..and even reaches out to others to prevent them from following in his footsteps..damn it, you could at least let the man live. Anyway..this was a great article..i had to write this message at work..so you know!

Keep on pushin'..HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Trix said...

W,

That you so much for sharing your thoughts.

I am not a proponent of the death penalty, but I do believe that if you commit the crime be man enough to serve the time.

I found it difficult to understand why a community would be supportive of a man who was insturmental in the current reputation of South Central and other areas impacted by gangs.

I can definately understand the celebrities who live in Beverly Hills and Bel Air or the individuals who reside in West LA and have never had someone shot and killed in their neighborhood.

While I do believe in forgiveness and giving people the opportunity to make a new start...writing and publishing one or two books on peace is not enough. Had Tookie made the same effort in bringing peace to our streets as he did violence then that would be a completely different discussion.

hi-lo said...

Hey Waset. It's been a minute since I read your posts. I noticed, like me, you were out of circulation. Good to see you're speaking your mind as loud as ever again. I have to say that I'm a little split on this issue of the death penalty. I also must admit that I didn't know Tookie from Pookie until recent years as his execution drew near. I feel that he should've served life in prison without parole and not been executed because he did serve as an example of how not to live life in the streets. As for the death penalty, I do believe there is a time for "an eye for an eye"; this just wasn't one of them. Stay up and keep the knowledge flowing.

Anonymous said...

The law of the land states: commit the crime do the time, thus pay any and all consequences and penalties that apply.

It is unfortunate, "celebrities" waited until the 11th Hour to advocate for Tookie Williams. Perhaps if they didn't sit on their hands for so long, one of them could have pursuaded Tookie Williams to admit he was wrong in his actions, and ask the grieving families to forgive him and pray Governor Arnold was just as forgiven. But, Mr. Williams remained stubborn right up to his last meal.

Sonya

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well, looka here, looka here, looka here. I'm impressed.

Maybe you ready to join the rest of us Jigaboos, of course you'll have to move out here to the suburbs.

TC -

Anonymous said...

I sometimes listen to these youngsters and they're looking up to these fake "ballers". I have about 4 or 6 people I know that gangbang and hustle. They drive $80,000 cars or better and they make it seem like they got it from hustling. That's what our young brothers look up to. They make gangbanging and hustling look cool. I know all their families had money first.

I wanna start a "Black Movement" wanna help?

First we have to find people to listen. We all know people who have the same thoughts who don't know how to go about getting it started. Im going about it by recruitung my best friend and one of his friends. Then he can bring abother person and the other bring another. You bring one or 2 that will listen to you. My grandmother wants me to speak at this little meeting that they're having in Compton. I told her I would but it will be better if it's more than just me. I think if we can talk about the Voting, the ban of firearms, and there is no excuse for stupidity. I hate blacks who have an excuse like "the whiteman is holding us back" well I can't pass the drug test" (well stop smoking) and my favorite "I did'nt have a daddy". "an excuse is like a asshole everybody has one, some just stink worse than others.

Juanas Williams

Anonymous said...

I AGREE!!!!! Has everyone forgotten that this "man" did commit crimes? Ok he said he didn't kill those people....I'm sure there are other that he did KILL!

What gets me is all the celebs fighting for his life! for what??! Would he have fought for yours? Or would have been the cause??!!

Most people in prison find redemption...there is nothing to do but redeem yourself and reflect, if I coulda, woulda...

E