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Wednesday, December 07, 2005
A few thoughts on Tookie…

Are you really reformed if you still refuse to admit responsibility for the crime you were convicted of in the first place?

Let's say he is “reformed,” and has devoted some portion of his recent years towards trying to persuade children not to follow the miserable path in life that he chose for himself. Presumably, one of the lessons in this teaching is that there are consequences for such a way of life, no? Seems to me that there is one final lesson to be taught in that curriculum, and that is that while you may be able to put off the inevitable final consequence of the “gangsta” lifestyle, you cannot prevent it. Live that life, and you will die. If not at the hands of a fellow thug criminal on the street, than at the metered hands of justice.

Perhaps the real lesson in this whole sorry tale, is that the system of carrying out capital punishment is inadequate. If we assume that this guy is truly “reformed” - a gigantic and perhaps even largely implausible assumption mind you - than we're really executing the wrong guy. The guy we convicted of these brutally heinous acts is the one who deserved this penalty and he may no longer exist. Now this is not an argument to spare his life. The guy we convicted did indeed deserve his sentence, and the guy sitting on death row - even if he is truly “reformed,” is the only one left to pay that debt. The lesson is that it should not take 26 years to carry out a sentence. If the evidence is substantial enough not just for a conviction, but a death sentence, than the guilty party should be allowed but one appeal in a timely fashion, and then the sentence should be carried out swiftly.

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