Monday, December 05, 2005

Smoke the Perp'

Convicted of multiple murders, the death row inmate known as "Tookie" Williams now faces execution, unless King Arnold decides, maybe after some persuasion from his limousine liberal-spouse Maria, to spare his life. The evidence appears rather convincing that Williams committed the murders--and the jury was not all white, as Williams later falsely claimed. That he continued to lie about his innocence--a lie which the liberals all seem to believe, as naive do-gooders are wont to--annoys nearly as much as do his claims to have been reformed by writing children's books while in stir.

There are arguments against the death penalty: some have argued against executions since the justice of preventing a possibly innocent, or mostly innocent person, from being executed may outweigh the good and the sense of Justice, whatever it is, that the actual execution brings about. That is not a bad argument, per se (though crime victims' family members would unlikely agree with it); and this would imply that all executions --including the execution of human monsters such as a John Wayne Gacy, Bundy, or Larry Bittaker --be prevented, so as to eliminate the possibility of a wrongly convicted person from being killed (and this has occured, possibly in the Chessman case in the 60s). Yet the anti-death penalty crowd, the celebrity sentimentalists and associated cry-babies protesting Williams' impending death are not really arguing that; or if they are, then they should also be working to prevent the death of Larry Bittaker (Free Pliers!) or Scotty Peterson. This will not likely occur.

Though one could do the Sociology 101 research project and argue for death penalty as deterrent (or not as deterrent) etc., my own sense is that the execution functions in a far more primordial fashion than as a preventive measure- -it is a ritual of sorts, a sort of enactment of Justice, which brings a certain sesne of satisfaction, even of pleasure to the victims, or family of the victims. Perhaps it's primitive, as primitive as the Old Testament or Koran, but then not nearly as primitive as the condemned man's murderous acts themselves.

The photos of Old West hangings, or of executions in Europe and the Middle East (the muslim Imams would never permit this sort of debate) provide evidence of this ritual character: in the frontier town a hanging was an event attended by all, and not without a certain glee. I suspect it is a similiar type of festive occasion in Muslim cities. Perhaps some clever opportunists might rally the state to allow public viewing and allow vendors (to have witnessed Aileen Wuornos' death would have been quite delightful); hell, broadcast it on the web.


Unknown said...

My views on Tookies demise were documented on my blog. I have supported the death penalty and at times been against it. There was not one hint of physical or eyewitness evidence against this man..and yet he was convicted ..although it took over 20 years for him to finally be put to death.

for my dilemma and how I felt about it:

J said...

I read through some of the court reports a few weeks ago, and it appeared highly likely that he was involved in the murder-robberies. It's true they didn't locate the weapons, but that is not so unusual in 187 cases. The jury thought he was guilty as well, and it was not all caucasians. Some of his own friends and family members testified against him, and there were witnesses to his joke about the killing. The case went though all the appeal processes, and his appeals were denied. So I was satisfied he was guilty, but I will admit it is not 100% sure.

Additionally, the liberals whining about the execution were not exactly calling for an end to all death penalites, however, or so it appeared to me.
Personally, I think the evidence of Scott Peterson's guilt is not nearly as convincing as it was in Williams' case, but where are the people arguing Free Scott?

Yet it is a tough one. It's pretty terrifying to think that someone who was more or less innocent could be executed, and that may have occured, possibly with Caryl Chessman in the 60s.

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