The problem with the death penalty is simply this. We don’t use it often enough or quick enough.
In Tookie’s case the man sat on death row for 24 years. In my opinion that’s about 23 years too long.
Let’s look at a couple facts:
Stanley Tookie Williams was co-founder of the Cryps gang.
Williams was condemned in 1981 for gunning down convenience store clerk Albert Owens, 26, at a 7-Eleven in Whittier and killing Yen-I Yang, 76, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, 63, and the couple’s daughter Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned. Williams claimed he was innocent.
Witnesses at the trial said he boasted about the killings, stating “You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him.” Williams then made a growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes.
Williams was convicted and sentenced to death.
Here’s what we need to do. When someone is convicted and sentenced to death, we need to start a clock. Wipe the slate clean; get new investigators, new judges, and new lawyers. All the way around, and on both sides, immediately process a do-over.
Run through one appeal if there’s any doubt. In this case I don’t see that there was much from what I’ve read.
Then we move on to the next phase and simply zap them. Injection takes too long and it’s far too peaceful. I don’t think we need it to be brutal, but it needs to be swift. Beheadings send a message.
Now in Tookie’s 24 years in the can, he’s had the opportunity to rehabilitate himself. At least as much as a death row inmate can be rehabilitated. He’s apologized for stating the cryps. He’s written children’s books. He’s been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize more than once for his work on anti-gang violence. He’s done some good things. That’s special.
None of that unwinds what he did 24 years ago. He took 3 lives in cold blood or at least 3 lives that we know of. He started the gang thing and lived by the rules he established, a life for a life. All of what he did in the end may have saved more lives and that’s wonderful. It doesn’t however unwind what he did in 1981.
Today was that day. By all accounts he took it like a man. A man he apparently grew to become in the 24 years he spent behind bars.
God Speed to him.
However, it shouldn’t have taken 24 years. Nope. We carried him for 24 years. The tax payers of California carried him for 24 years. The families of his victims waited for 24 years for justice. Does his death give them anything? Does it make them whole? Probably not. Their loved ones are still dead because of him and only because of him.
His actions of the last 24 years don’t make up for the crimes he committed against them and humanity.
God will forgive him if he asked for forgiveness, perhaps the families have forgiven him as well.
A swift death penalty is a deterrent, one that takes 24 years and gives one an opportunity to write children’s books and win a Nobel Peace Prize from behind prison walls is not.
For more info on Stanley Tookie Williams just Google for it.