Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The empty cell

The sideshow around the main event, the execution of Tookie Williams, was endlessly fascinating. Probably the best place to start is at Michelle Malkin's. Then Captain Ed. Baldilocks says a lot that's worthwhile and Cobb, too. The most interesting debate, if you exclude the Jesse Jackson freakshow, where he couldn't remember the name of a single one of Tookie's victims, was at Captain Ed's. Captain Ed was disgusted by the histrionics over Tookie, but for religious and moral reasons preferred Life Without Parole. Fair enough. But his commenters ran with the argument and pointed out that it was precisely because Life Without Parole couldn't be guaranteed -- that it was more than likely some future political campaign would let stone killers free on a fraction of their sentences -- that the Death Penalty made sense. Commenter Abdul Abulbul Amir (do you know the song?) said: "folks are murdered by criminals serving life sentences with unfortunate regularity. The fact remains we simply cannot ensure that that a lifer can kill no more. However, we can be certain that after tonight, 'Tookie' will never kill again." It would be ironic if the single most compelling argument for the Death Penalty turns out to be the anti-Death Penalty lobby itself.

But when you think about it, every alternative to the Death Penalty is premised on the assumption that jail provides an better way of removing dangerous persons from society. Once the impermeability of jail can no longer be guaranteed -- because holes in the cell walls are being poked by 'activists' --  then it makes sense to execute perps while you can. Of course, there's something nigglingly wrong with this. After some thought I realized what I thought it was. Issues of guilt and innocence; crime and punishment have been distorted by the political process. How else do you have Ramsey Clark defending Saddam and European investigators refusing to provide cooperation because it might lead to the Death Penalty? Crime stops being about criminals and their deeds and becomes yet another battleground in the culture wars. It becomes less about human beings and more about political agendas. Baldilocks said:

Leaving aside those who oppose the death penalty for moral/religious reasons, few of you have seemed motivated to move into my South Central LA neighborhood to see what “Tookie” and his Crip co-founder Raymond Lee Washington (who’s burning in Hell right now) have wrought for the last thirty-odd years. And I know that you won’t be choosing to live here anytime soon. That’s understandable ...

True but irrelevant; not logically, but politically. Nor does this factoid figure in the picture.

7 July 1975 - U.S. News & World Report: A Senate subcommittee, also investigating school violence, reported that one gang in Los Angeles calls itself 'Crips' -- described by the subcommittee as 'a short form of cripples, which in turn is derived from the gang's trademark of maiming or crippling their victims.'

That's ancient history. What's current is this:

Najee Ali, a friend of Williams and a civil rights campaigner in Los Angeles, yesterday said: "We're all stunned. Tookie's actions have demonstrated that he has become a voice for peace, a voice against violence, and has become an influence for the good for young people around the world.

It's about the politics. Not about the crime, nor the victims, nor even Tookie himself. How we have betrayed.


Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

He's convicted. Kill him. What's the big hoohah about?

You can bet your last dollar the Singapore government never gives a flying fuck about what the idiots think. When the Aussies were bitching about our death sentence on the drug smuggling fellow, we tuned them out.

All because in our heart of hearts, we know this: A law not enforced with 100 percent regularity is no law at all.

Machiavelli knew this, wrote about it, 500 years ago. Pity so many people refuse to heed his words.

12/13/2005 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Freakshow is right.

In Criminal Law there are four different philosophies that are used to justify punishment for evil deeds: 1)deterrence, 2)incapacitation, 3)rehabilitation, and 4)retribution.

What is fascinating about these philosophies is not found within their logic, nor is it found by looking to their differences. What is fascinating about them is their adherents.

It is all about predisposition. There were those in my Criminal Law class that automatically favored retribution, let's say, over rehabilitation. Almost to a man (or woman), these retributivists were also politically conservative.

The opposite also obtained. Some in my class made strident arguments against thinking in retributivist terms, thinking instead that rehabilitation was the proper paradigm for punishment. These people were almost uniformly liberal/Leftists.

You could write a dissertation on the why's and how's, analyzing the evidence to see what's causative and what simply correlates. My own personal opinion? There is something fundamental in a person's perspective on the world that predisposes that person to various default opinions. While these opinions can be modified--if one takes the time to do rigorous analysis--for a great segment of the population they become determinative.

Perhaps it's as simple as one's opinion of human nature, whether one thinks man is a "noble savage" or a Hobbesian beast. What I do know is that those in my class who had actually experienced horror at the hands of another human were the most vocal proponents of retributive justice. Those who had seen evil were the ones who had the moral fortitude to kill it.

Those who had lived their lives cosy and warm, who had never seen the atrocities man is capable of, were the most comfortable thinking about punishment in the abstract.

12/13/2005 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

"and has become an influence for the good for young people around the world"

He meant 'youths', didn't he? Just like Saint N T Van of Singapore and of course Michelle, ma belle, in a Balinese jail.

To err is human, to forgive Divine... for the Forgiver. Makes you so above the hoi polloi, and so PC.

Odi profanum vulgum...


12/13/2005 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

In a written statement prepared for the circus, Williams said, "Me fearing what I’m facing, what possible good is it going to do for me? How is that going to benefit me?” Williams said in a recent interview. “If it’s my time to be executed, what’s all the ranting and raving going to do?”

Williams never expressed guilt or remorse for the victims of his crimes or their families. I'm guessing this is the reason he was denied pardon. It was all about Tookie.

Redemption is all about looking into the mirror,facing your sin, having genuine remorse and asking for forgiveness. If Tookie ever had these types of experiences, they were never in evidence.

12/13/2005 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

I find the central question in this issue is the idea of redemption. Can someone who has committed murder be redeemed in such a way as to not be a future threat to society? If so, how can you tell to everyones satisfaction?

12/13/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When he is reincarnated as a pig, then he will be redeemed.

Anyone concerned with Human Rights and extending those "rights" as broadly and universally as possible can take a hand in the process.

Helping "tookie" and his ilk, like mini Z, along their way to both redemtion and paradise.

If only God can judge, let's send 'em to the jurisdiction.

12/13/2005 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Redemption is the act of being taken back. In the Biblical sense, it is the process of getting back into a right relationship with God after having sinned (turned away).

With regard to his fellow humanity (the victims families), Williams never expressed a desire to get back to any type of relationship. The brutal murders he committed were not the type of crimes - of passion - that typically result in sorrow or remorse on the part of the perp. These were crimes of domination and power. His heart was never right.

With regard to Williams' redeption with the state (the authority having jurisdiction): well, what is it that they said in the old west? Horse theives are not hung because they stole horses: they are hung so horses will not be stolen.

12/13/2005 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger John F. Opie said...

Hi -

As usual, a great post. :-)

It's all part of the Culture of Deception. He was remorseful but claims innocence? That being deceitful, and the fact that he bet his life on being able to pull this off means nothing less than he believed that such contradictions didn't make a difference.

(Shameless plug: For more on the Culture of Deception, check out my blog: it's a developing series that ties in with the looney left...)


12/13/2005 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger John F. Opie said...

Woops -

Forgot the links.






12/13/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The cause and effect are lost after 26 years.
"tookie" should have been took, long ago. Then his death may have had an impact on his contemporaries or sphere of influence.

After 26 years on Death Row his sphere had shrunk, his 'Crips' are many generations away from his era.
He's been "away" longer the Reagan.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

12/13/2005 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jake said...


I have to agree with you. In this specific case he did not show any remorse and his other activites were not enough to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had changed.

Talking about the death penalty in general. Is it possibile for anyone to ever change enough to not merit the death penalty once they have been sentenced?

12/13/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...


"Talking about the death penalty in general. Is it possibile for anyone to ever change enough to not merit the death penalty once they have been sentenced?"

The death penalty does not exist everywhere. Obviously to some, it should not be a means of punishment.

If a person who committed such crimes believed truly he was redeemed with his maker - and I'm trying to put myself in that place - then I don't suppose death would be such an impossible thing to face.

12/13/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Those who argue that the death penalty constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment" don't reaize that the death penalty is not punishment.
It is not intended to correct behavior nor is it done in as painful a manner as possible.
The death penalty is a disposal action, plain and simple.
An individual has been determined to be too dangerous to have around, so we get rid of him.
Just as the possible future actions of activists help to make the death penalty more desirable in some cases (as Wretchard points out), so does the way in which we stretch out the appeals process make it cruel and unusual.

12/13/2005 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Originally, you could say, the death penalty is neither retribution nor deterrent.

The death penalty has to do with the place accorded to the victim's voice, which is missing.

Something is presumed on behalf of the victim.

That's fairly hard to get at politically. Most moralizing in fact wants to make morality less exacting in its possible claims on the speaker.

So, for example, the state should take care of the poor so that I do not have to.

But then what happens to this :

``Why do we always have the poor?''

``So we are not damned.''

12/13/2005 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

Enough mistakes have been made that I could accept doing away with the death penalty if sentences were actually harsh punishment. To me 14 hours of hard physical labor per day sandwiched on both sides by solitary confinement without TV, radios, access to the legal library, exercise yard privileges, etc. would be about right. Oh, and no book publishing deals, no interviews. Into the black hole until Judgement's light.

12/13/2005 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

BTW: I am aware that this could never, in fact, happen given our political process.

12/13/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Death is not impossible to face, whether a person is redeemed or not.

Redemtion for murder is so hard to come by, just ask for the victim's judgement. Oh wait, they're DEAD

By Allah you can recieve redemtion.
For each Homicide Bomber redeemed upon death for murder committed in the cause of Allah's World domination, or is it just what those demented folk believe.

Saddam believes he was within his rights as President of Iraq to behave as he did.
By Right of Law & Power
He requires no redemtion

Tookie faced death, they say, with a "defiant stare".

12/13/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/13/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Social and political relationships in medieval times were determined by a patchwork of privileges which literally exempted various groups from being subject to rules, penalties and taxes. The institution which claimed the widest variety of exemptions on behalf of its adherents, including the right of 'sanctuary', was of course the church.

Here we see the liberals claiming that Tookie Williams should be exempt from the death penalty solely because he claims he has joined their 'church'. The primary reason liberals want this indulgence has nothing to do with Tookie and everything to do with the prestige which they believe the granting of this exemption would have conferred on their sect. From this point of view the indulgence is more valuable the more arbitrary and absurd it is.

Just like members and functionaries of the medieval church many of today's left-liberals derive their social position, their beliefs, and even all of their income from the deference accorded to liberalism in our society. If that were to collapse (as it may well do) they would be utterly lost.

12/13/2005 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

To this writer the death penalty works!

I am probably alive today because over a half century ago someone committing a crime knew he was in a death penalty state and deliberately disarmed himself before I located his hiding place.

Isn't that "deterrence"? My family sure thinks so!

12/13/2005 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I recently had a conversation with a law school girl I was sort of chatting up and she stunned me with the comment, delivered at the pitch of incredulity and indignation, "can you beLIEve they let the victims' families testify at the sentence hearing?"

And so the flower wilted.

What THE HELL is wrong with these people. In my view, the only problem with the death penalty is procedural, not moral, and that the procedural aspect will only perfected to a certain Earthly degree in no manner trumps the death penalty's retributive, symbolic and anti-tribal significance.

Just another radiating chapel in the cathedral-conviction that we are Progress'd enough to never have to worry about those nasty, almost fairy-tale, relapses into barbarism again. Or maybe the cathedral is Technology, and Progress is the catechism in the hearts of the votaries. But then technology can also be used to kill! Bad technology! We fight against your potential for evil in our hearts!

But oh yes - what about those victims?

Personally I'm still waiting for an intrepid Iraqi to mutter into a microphons "Ok, this joke is over," walk over to Saddam, and Gloc to chest point blank blow his black heart all over the astonished murdering mafia behind him.

12/13/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Founder of a criminal gang, Tookie murdered innocent people and bragged about it. A writer of cautionary tales, he went on to be a darling of the Left, those who hold the state over the individual, hold the individual over the state when they have inducted an idol into their fan club.

The minority classes demand PC penance from the masses, demand that they indulge in self intolerance.

Once upon a time in Texas, a Canadian was waiting for his fate, asked by a reporter ‘what kind of message does it send to Canada?’ the governor GWB, simply stated, “I think it sends the message that if you come down here and murder Texans, this is what will happen to you”.

12/13/2005 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger wildiris said...

Aristides said, "In Criminal Law there are four different philosophies that are used to justify punishment for evil deeds: 1)deterrence, 2)incapacitation, 3)rehabilitation, and 4)retribution."
There is a fifth way to look at the death penalty, a more ancient way and one that modern society has completely forgotten about. It is the notion of "payment". If one took a life, the one owes society a life in return.

12/13/2005 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


Not to hijack the thread, but as this is all related, evidently citizenship and the nation are dead - or is a clandestine agent plotting a tactical engagement for the New Islamic Conquests deserving of due process regardless of everything but that he shares 99.9% of DNA with the rest of us humans, never mind what he does with it?

The Left, addicted to extremity, exaggeration, the anti-natural point of view. Incapable of governing, of creating, of teaching - a trustfundbaby at the outset, inexorably. Was it for the purpose of being less natural, more affected, more rationalized that the liberal revolution threw off autarky? To the contrary.

Not only was Tookie a murderer, he was a dishonorable coward: shooting a man in the back with a shotgun twice while he's already pinned face down to the ground? A liberalism which countenances this depravity is one I would gladly see the king disperse with a whiff of grapeshot.

12/13/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...


Justice, not applied swiftly, is lost. Williams' crimes took place in the late '70's. How many South-Central gang members, how many of the peace-nik protesters marching outside San Quentin were even alive when the victims fell?

"For each Homicide Bomber redeemed upon death for murder committed in the cause of Allah's World domination, or is it just what those demented folk believe."

Sorry, I don't subscribe to paganism. Murder in the name of religion is the most dispicable crime.

12/13/2005 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I agree.
That was the point I was attempting to make.
There can be no redemtion for murder, the Victim cannot 'forgive'

We are in argeement about the swift application of Justice, my 5:51 input.

The Mohammedan reference was an attempt to illustrate the futility of appealing to a "higher' or religious form of redemtion. That form of "redemtion" is obscene, as exampled by the Jihadist Mohammedan suicide attacks against anyone, but women and children in wedding parties first and foremost.

Kill a child and be redeemed by allah, and then be awarded your virgins to rape.


12/13/2005 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Redemption, Redemption, Redemption

so since i havent looted, raped, murdered, crippled, thrown firebombs, shot at people i am not worthy of redemption...

please tell mr jackson (the man who imprednates other women while bieng married) (mr hymietown)(mr rainbow blackmail coaliliton) he can kiss my NON-felon ass

pass the rinds man... a piece of fecal material has been flushed

12/13/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Great comments.
meme chose says
"The primary reason liberals want this indulgence has nothing to do with Tookie and everything to do with the prestige which they believe the granting of this exemption would have conferred on their sect. From this point of view the indulgence is more valuable the more arbitrary and absurd it is."
(and the cheap prestige one gains within the sect)
It is also about Power:
The power these people crave to influence others, to gain attention, to strike back at and disrupt authority, while clinging to their small world fantasy.

"It's a Small World" would have made appropriate background music for the *event* of Tookie's passing.

12/13/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tookie never cooperated with the police to help control gang violence.
He "wrote" children's books.

One of the most offensive aspects of our times is the rush to apologize and forgive FOR OTHERS.

It is for the victim to forgive, but as 'Rat points out well several times above, THEY CAN'T.

Many of our watered down religious folk promote this sacrilege
(Desecration, profanation, misuse, or theft of something sacred.)
...as do stone cold atheist liberals and commie sypms.
From sacrilegus, one who steals sacred things.
As Pat Buchanan says, in the endless delay of our criminal system, the victims become depersonalized, and the perps gain a (false) identity.
Dan, show the young lady that was offended by the victims families these pictures of the people that they were speaking for:
. Tookie's Nights Work .
. The Rest of the Story

.Deputies Not Keeping Pace With L.A. Gangs .

Gang-related homicides are up more than 30% this year in areas under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, but the department's countywide gang enforcement team is substantially smaller than it was three years ago and remains chronically understaffed.

For many years the department dealt with significantly less gang crime than police in the city of Los Angeles. No more. At least half of the homicides in sheriff's territories are now gang killings, about the same level as in the city. Statewide, gang violence accounts for about 16% of all homicides.

12/13/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

pork & rat:

Redemption starts with the individual. In his heart, he must turn away from his sin (separation from God). By so doing he turns back to a relationship with his creator.

I'm not going to try to get into the mind of an all knowing entity. "Vengeance is mine..."

Do I think Williams deserved to die?

Do I believe God would endorse it?

Neither question/answer has anything to do with the murderer's redemption with his maker.

12/13/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Whereas LA has something on the order of 10,000 cops, it is estimated that there are over 17,000 illegal aliens in criminal gangs. It is no longer the quaint rivalry between the bloods and the crips… it is the shire verses the forces of Sauron.

12/13/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

On the news last night, one of Tookie's defenders slickly elided the issue of guilt, asking plaintively, "What kind of country kills somebody who writes children's books?"

I wonder how deeply that question resonates with Middle America. People cannot generally be so stupid as not to notice the lie central to that question, can they? Perhaps some are taken in because it is more comforting to make believe that Tookie had done nothing but live an exemplary life--writing children's books, preaching non-violence, doing nothing other than trying to make this a better world.

If only that had been all that he'd done, we'd have no answer. But we do have an answer. I'm pretty sure we do.

12/13/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anybody know why Pajamas links to Marc Cooper ?
Everything I read sucks, Big Time.

12/13/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

We all know about damned liars and statisticians. Has anyone seen a statistical correlation between the per capita probability of murder versus the probability of execution? I have not. One would think there is enough data available that such a correlation could be determined. Perhaps there is no trusted source (Would you believe it if you read it from the MSM?). People like to argue back-and-forth that capital punishment deters murder and saves lives but do we really know?

12/13/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

If your central premise is that dead people make poor recidivists’, then I’d say that the ex post facto law of deterrence obviates possibility.

12/13/2005 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

We all share a collective covenant with society… that we shall live and let live… a murderer who has broken that covenant has written their own creedo;

Live and let die.

12/13/2005 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Williams' own son is currently incarcerated at the CDC facility in Susanville.

I guess he never read his pappy's books.

Or maybe he did??

Just what is in those books anyway?

12/13/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not to speak ill of the dead, but I do not think ole tookie had much truck with your "maker", enscout.

And that really is the point.
People cannot redeem the crimes of others against innocents.

Religion is in the eye of the beholder. Acts of outrage are often deemed Holy. Gor's murderers do not need redemption, from men, they recieve it directly from their God.

Just ask the other victims of Divine rightousness, perhaps the Incas, Aztecs, Israelis or Coptic Christians, have an answer.

Or, just maybe, the families of the DEAD in the World Trade Center attack can explain why the murderers, who were acting in God's name, and thusly have been Redeemed by God grace.
allah akbar, baby.

12/13/2005 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

On redemption, Paul Simon did a musical on that, ``The Capeman.''

An interview by Don Imus is here http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/transcription.simon.txt and real audio of it http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/imuscut.simon.ram where Simon tried to explain what he was considering, whether there is redemption for a murderer in society.

One of the songs cut from the musical ``Trailways Bus'' is on the CD, and has the answer what is necessary for redemption. On the released murderer, last stanza of last song,

But he can't leave his fears behind,
He recalls each fatal thrust
The screams carried by the wind,
Phantom figures in the dust

There's a misdirection in it that imitates Wordsworth in the Lucy quatrains, here the missing word for the missing redemption, namely tears.

12/13/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anybody know when Tookie's books come out in paperback?

12/13/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

rat: "Not to speak ill of the dead, but I do not think ole tookie had much truck with your "maker", enscout."

Not for me to say.

You said: "People cannot redeem the crimes of others against innocents."

Absolutely right. It's within the authority and jurisdiction of the state to protect innocents from murderers. As in Stanley Williams, as in Al Queada, as in Saddamm....

Doug: Paperbacks? - still not worth the paper they're printed on.

If they do remain in print, we should demand the publishers add an epilogue that the authoer was put to his death by authorities for the crimes he committed. End of story.

Perhaps then they will carry the credibilty they now lack.

12/13/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, a proper ending.

12/13/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

They claimed he found God and reformed his ways.

But let's look at his actions -

1. He did not seek out a minister before his execution.

2. He refused the last meal.

Sounds like a irrepentable man to me, defiant to the last minute, not contrite at all.

12/13/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

-now a moot point with tookie, but one wonders how many people in the joint have been killed by lifers over debts owed, the profit of a contract or a racial offense? So you got a guy doing a nickle for burglary and he runs afoul of a lifer doing his time for a murder(s) and the burglar gets shanked all because some bleeding hearts spared the life of a murderer.....??

12/13/2005 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...


I just finished doing some security work for the DOC for a supermax facility. The place is designed for ultimate protection - for the security personel from the inmates AND for the inmates from other inmates.

The crowd that stays here are the worst of the worst - just the type you are talking about.

Not a place I would like to go to punch the time clock every day.

12/13/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...


Murder and quite a few other crimes are down significantly since the mid nineties. A lot of people attribute this to harsher sentencing laws. Certainly more people are serving more time.

As for murder rates and death penalties, the statistical correlation tends to be negative, European countries tend to have lower muder rates, and of course the liberal north east averages one third the murder rate of the conservative south.

I am not sure that the statistical correlation shows any cause and effect. And actually as in many cases the "conservative/liberal" dichotomy is unclear.

California has pretty much given up on the concept of rehabilitation, prisons are for punishment for keeping dangerous people out of society. Many conservative states have not been so extreme and do still experiment with various methods of changing prisoners. They tend to have a noticeably lower rate of felons coming back. Which works out well for the citizen and taxpayer.

12/13/2005 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"2. He refused the last meal."
Obiously we have not been feeding him gruel for the past 25 years.
A nice big pizza for me.

12/13/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger : JustaDog said...

Tookie's actions have demonstrated that he has become a voice for peace, a voice against violence, and has become an influence for the good for young people around the world.

Tookie - what a cute name. Did those he murdered think it was cute too?

"Voice for peace" was a nice phrase concocted by liberals to try and divert from the violent nature of this person. He NEVER helped law enforcement in any investigation into the violent gang he co-founded. He made the choice to protect his fellow gangsters, to follow his oath of silence and not to be (in his words) a snich.

The only sad part is it took so long for this scum to meet justice. The liberals have lost an icon of theirs - but not of the GOOD PEOPLE!

12/13/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

david bennett said:

"Murder and quite a few other crimes are down significantly since the mid nineties. A lot of people attribute this to harsher sentencing laws. Certainly more people are serving more time."

I suspect this is a demographic artifact due to the mean population age becoming older. Murder tends to be a crime of the young.

What I'd like to see is a scatter plot having a point for each state that permits capital punishment. On the Y-axis would be per-capita probability of murder and on the X-axis the per-capita probability of execution. If there was a visible trend then that would be very interesting.

12/13/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard, nice piece. I paid note of your observation that activists have managed to "poke holes" in jail wars and make certain favored prisoners powerful and influential again through technology. Also, activists have prolonged the time between arrest and prescribed punishment so much that they undermine the neting out of justice through delay. Justice has taken a back seat to an anal fixation on bureaucratic procedure and leisurely due process that places no urgency on completing trial and sentencing so society gets the feedback on the consequences of criminal action. This is not good for any society, IMO.

Three data points:

1. Slobodan Milosevic was arrested April 2, 2001 for war crimes committed from 1993-1999, as a Serb leader. His trial STARTED on Feb 2, 2003. Currently, the trial is still in discovery and cross examination. The trial deliberations are expected to commence in late 2006. Then apparantly there will be a significant delay as opinions are written. Slobbos actual sentencing may be in 2007 or even 2008. In the meantime, he is not judged guilty, so he has far more comforts than sentenced prisoners in Europe do - not that they suffer so badle themselves in certain Euro countries in jail - particularly the Nordic ones. A summmary of Slobbos life while awaiting Eurojustice:

Mr Milosevic and other indictees are housed in a special prison unit spread over four floors with 12 cells each, patrolled by UN guards.

Inmates in the UN wing each have their own cell of 15 square metres, equipped with modern conveniences. These include shower, toilet, washbasin and bed - as well as a desk, a coffee maker, bookshelves, a radio set and satellite television.

Detainees spend much of their time outside their rooms, and have access to a fully equipped gym, an outdoor courtyard, a library, a recreation room, a prison shop and a religion room for prayer.
Mr Milosevic is being held close to the tribunal

There are special family rooms to spend time with relatives. Inmates may telephone their families for seven minutes a day, cook for themselves, paint or play the piano or guitar.

The conditions at the detention unit are informal. The staff pride themselves on providing a good quality of life to the Serbs, Croats and Muslims who mix freely.

Their physical and emotional well-being is cared for by doctors and psychiatrists, and if someone needs a massage, that is provided as well.

2. In the US, new technology, activist groups, and the right to contact with the general public leads to strange consequences. At one point you had influential people using the power of the media to free a convict they took a particular shine to, most notably Mailer-Abbot incident. But nowadays, the incentives are absolutely perverse. The worse the crime, the more power and celebrity we give the convict to influence society.

A case was Michael Ross up in Connecticut, who after his arrest for raping and killing 11 young females ranging from 14 to 24, became the 1st person executed in New England in over 45 years. It took 23 years from his conviction to his death. He became a celebrity serial killer who wrote frequent newspaper op-eds on his "disorder" - the pyschosexual sadism that made him want to rape and kill. The term was invented by a distinguished Yale psychologist who wanted a nicer word than "evil". The Yalie was one of many anti-death penalty academics that took up Ross's cause. He vied with Harvard and Brown and Wesleyan profs taking the pilgrimmage to Somers, CT to meet with Ross. A few books were written about him. He was featured on several websites devoted to serial killers. His autograph, like many notorious killers, is or in his case was - coveted and sought, a bit of murderobilia worth money. Millions in taxpayer money was spent over the years on court-appointed Ross psychologists, hormonal treatment physicians, lawyers, the court costs for endless appelate appeals. Along the way, Ross, like so many serial killers, assembled a fan club of lonelyhearts women that desperately wished to "save him" and continue their vicarious emotional connection to him. He turned down several marriage proposals, but claimed he at one time or another was deep in love with two of his fan club members. When he finally was executed, it was a national media event. He had outlived many of the parents of the girls he had killed, and lived longer on death row than most of his victims had been alive...

3. Beyond the death penalty, there appears to be a growing danger in Western societies that allow other convicts the appearance of innocence through endless appeals - a notion there is no finality to justice for any major crime. And commensurate danger from simply letting criminals in jail stay as fully connected to society as possible. Not only are gangs run from leaders in jail, not only do they order discipline and even hits from inside jail, but all the access and contact with the general public and family exerts other insidious effects on the public. Children in frequent contact with their convict father or mother are MORE, not less likely, to become criminals themselves. Many receive a message that their parent is a sort of superhero that can "take" jail life - so as kids wish in some deep level to prove they can do what a parent they look up to does, the effects are implicit, even though "tough daddy/mommy" frequently enjoins them NOT to grow up like them...Cons are running mail scams all the time and those with Internet access have found wonderful new uses for that tool of the criminal trade. The visits are used in similar manner to be able to "reach out and touch" more than just the visiting party. An example: I got an angry phone call from the wife of a con a few years back saying he was very pissed at a column I wrote referring to his arrest and conviction for robbery. He was innocent, see, and she said he wanted to personally set me straight on my lies so I should accept a call from him....which I declined..

The access is also a problem for linking cons with activist groups - well past the well known anti-death penalty groups - to pursue other political agendas. Liberals are pushing for the right of cons behind bars to vote in state and local elections. Meaning a rural Texas county could conceivably wake up one day and find their mayor and council are elected members of the Mexican Mafia on the outside. Other causes being worked on are "Prisoner comfort rights", endless taxpayer funded appeals, trying to set up school programs where kids visit jail to "learn from cons" how jail is, women battling for marriage and conjugal rights privileges, more "parenting time" for cons, and so on.

A lot of the world holds Western justice in "just" contempt. To fix it, justice must be:

A. Fast.
B. Fair, but with a sense of finality and dramatically limited right to appeal.
C. Contact between cons and the general public must be limited as far as possible to reduce the cons corrupting effect and ability to continue criminal activities affecting the public from jail.
D. Interaction with children of cons needs to be reduced, not increased.
E. Lawsuits, and campaigns on behalf of cons by politically active groups needs to be limited by law, and under no circumstances should cons get the ability to vote and influence local elections.
F. All rights of convicts in the West must be made secondary to good order and discipline in correctional institutes, and control of gang recruiting made a priority, and recruiting by radical Islamist groups at war with the West circumscribed.

12/13/2005 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...


"poke holes" in jail wars

Ummm, I meant jail walls. Walls, yes, figuratively in Wretchards orginal context, not literally...

Poking holes in jail wars, on the other hand, is what one con does to another con or a guard with a shiv knife or improvised icepick style weapon.

12/13/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Well said.
I suppose that, in order to deny inmate contact with "the religion of peace, prisoners would also be denied Christian counseling.

12/13/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Not one voice for Tookie? Not one voice who believes in the sanctity of even this human life?


As I blogged this morning, life is precious, but not always paramount.

12/13/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Voltimand said...

Like Cedarford I think the center of gravity in W's post concerns the "permeability" of prison walls and of the sentences that put those adjudged guilty behind them.

The "activists" whom W. would put in quotation marks are for themselves not "in quotes": they are just normal people who believe that there is no such thing as guilt. The mutually-abetting meld of psychological behaviorism, marxist envyism (the only evil is someone possessing something that you don't), a redneck population that is all fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist under the skin that loves to see criminals die, and the notion that there is no individual human being, only concatenations of responses to the actions of others: all of this has led to the conclusion that "guilt" does not exist, except as something that "society" creates and therefore that "society" is responsible for.

Okay. Now, if there is no guilt, then is there such a thing as innocence? No, of course not: OP's ("other people") exist as respositories of one's own unacknowledged angers and sense of inferiority, onto whom one projects these. They comprise the "guilty."

The result is the odd cult of the homicidal criminal as somehow the victim of all of the above. Therefore the homicidal criminal is "innocent" (ignore the contradiction, this way of thinking of full of it) just as the Jihadist decapitator is innocent, and just as America or the west is "guilty" of being better than someone else, or richer, or more provident, or what have you, and therefore of "deserving" whatever punishment it gets.

The "permeability" of the criminal justice system that W. articulates is in fact a very complex melange of the above factors and doubtless some that I've missed.

Alexander Pope wrote at in the early 18th century a long "comic epic" called the Dunciad. Here, stupidity on a global, cosmic order was so massive as to merit nothing less a full-scale epic treatment. Apocalypse and the end of the world erupt not from cataclysm but from collective stupidity--thus the poem concludes:

She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!

Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all.

12/13/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


A summary of the statistical evidence you seek can be found here (pdf) as presented to the House Judicairy Committee. The actual study is available here.

I have yet to see a methodological rebuttal of the study or an effective argument againsts its conclusions.

12/13/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

In the above post, Rick Ballard provided links to PDF documents showing statistical evidence for capital punishment having a deterring effect upon murder.

Rick, thanks for the information.

I gave "344.pdf" a quick look. This Pdf is a paper published in "American Law and Economics Review" Vol. 5 No. 2 titled "Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? New Evidence from Postmoratorium Panel Data" by Hashem Dezhbakhsh and Paul H. Rubin and Joanna M. Shepherda of Emory University. The paper claims that one execution was estimated to save between 8-28 lives. This is a remarkable conclusion and if true, puts the whole ethical argument surrounding capital punishment into a different light. I'll have to read this paper carefully. Thanks again.

12/13/2005 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Beyond Parody. . .

"In Graz, Schwarzenegger's hometown, local Greens said they would file a petition to remove the California governor's name from the city's Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium. A Christian political group suggested it be renamed for Williams .

"Mr. Williams had converted and, unlike Mr. Schwarzenegger, opposed every form of violence," said Richard Schadauer, chairman of the Association of Christianity and Social Democracy."


12/13/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


You might want to save the study to disk. It has a tendency to disappear. I first found it at Emory University but if it's there now it is well hidden. It's also available for members here .

Contradicting conventional wisdom with facts is no way to become popular.

12/13/2005 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Milan Oskoryp Sr. said...

cedarford:Milosevic was is and will be hero of his nation.On his name there are going to be songs sang.He was fighthing what one of these days all Eurrrope is going to fight if it is not going the way of victims of past and even of present also.
Remember,remember the day is coming,maybe even sooner than Milosevic is out of jail.
Fight against Islam is fight bigger than fight against Crips.Izatbegovic so loved by stupidity of America is bigger SOB than 10 Tookies.We see it already-do not you?

12/13/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Much has been made of the lessons Tookie supposedly imparted to children through books he wrote.

Well, last night he delivered one of the most important lessons a child can possibly learn: that actions are followed by consequences.

That's a far more powerful lesson -- and one more useful to society -- than telling children that no matter what they do, serial homicide included, all they need do to make things right is a little good behavior and some contrition. The right celebrity endorsements don't hurt either.

And in Tookie's case, apparently, the contrition wasn't even accompanied by an admission of guilt or an apology.

Indeed, as Tookie and Yassir Arafat have shown, if you become politically fashionable enough, murderousness can get you Nobel prize nominations and, in Arafat's case, the prize itself.

12/13/2005 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12/13/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Aristides writes, "What I do know is that those in my class who had actually experienced horror at the hands of another human were the most vocal proponents of retributive justice."

How true.

I had occasion once to serve on the jury of a murder trial. The defendant was career felon who'd spent most of his adult life in prison and the rest of it terrorizing his neighborhood. The fear of witnesses who testified against him was palpable.

In reaching a verdict, it was those jurors who'd lived in similar neighborhoods and had dealt with people like the defendant all their lives who were quickest to convict -- and quickest to opt for the harshest penalty during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Those who seek to handcuff police and the military have rarely come face-to-face with the pathological violence of criminals like Tookie or 'freedom fighters' terrorizing the innocent in Anbar province.

12/13/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Aristides - Hobbes' view was the correct one, and in many ways the basis for modern secular society. The noble savage never existed, save in the fevered dreams of the insane.

12/13/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Great stuff, Aristides:

Perhaps it's as simple as one's opinion of human nature, whether one thinks man is a "noble savage" or a Hobbesian beast. What I do know is that those in my class who had actually experienced horror at the hands of another human were the most vocal proponents of retributive justice. Those who had seen evil were the ones who had the moral fortitude to kill it.

I'll go for "No More War Forever" the day after my last enemy does.

And I'll be eternally glad and happy to do so.

Until then, never forget.

12/13/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

In the life versus death controversy for murderers, I have one point of view: death. Why? Not because life imprisonment is in fact cheaper than the death penalty when you count up the total cost of all the appeals, and not because of the possibility of the murderer getting off early for "good behavior!"

But, when you look at the fact that the murderer took a life that will not be lived, a person who will not have the joys and fulfillments one might have in this life, why should he be allowed to have a life, to breathe, to see, to hear, and to enjoy what life he can develop in jail? Why should he be able to read, and talk, and have an intellectual existence, even to fall in love and marry(!) when his victim is stone cold in the grave?

A life for a life! And sort of quickly, too! Just long enough for the murderer to realize that he is facing death, not any kind of life.

This is a just killing of an enemy of society.

12/13/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Now Tookie is a Martyr to the moral cripples on the left(Moral Crips).I remember Dion Dimucci's anthem to the fallen heroes of my day,"Abraham,Martin and John"
I would like to propose a new verse:
"Has anybody here seen my old friend Tookie?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
I thought I saw him walking down the Green Mile
Along with some cat named Saddam"

Read Tookie's history.He was a fat,illiterate bully,a psychotic pcp abuser,ghetto trash to the nth degree.That liberals weep over his useless carcass tells you all you need to know about them.

12/13/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

One of the reasons why Tookie murdered with impunity was the racial left leaning California Supreme Court guided by the infamous Rose Bird (a Jerry "moon beam" Brown lackey). This set the stage for light sentences and wild criminal activity.

During the reign of Rose Bird the death penalty was wiped-out. When it was reinstated Rose Bird added so many avenues of appeal that most on death row killers never saw death. Hence, killers like Tookie Williams must have felt few constraints to stop murdering.

Since Doug has explained Tookie's psychotic murderous ways I will not expound upon them (other than to say his son is now sought by the California police for rape of a 13 year old girl). Some the lawyers on this board can explain the enormity and damage of the leftwing Rose Bird high court in California better than I. But here a just a few items:

[Reagan started installing conservative judges]

"What I saw in the Reagan papers really blew all the others away," Yalof recalled last week. "It was a really groundbreaking approach. No other president approached that level of research and fine-tuning. It is a real testament to just how important nominations were to the Reagan presidency."

Where did Reagan's own passion for recasting the judiciary originate? Most historians point to his previous tenure as California governor. "He presided over a state, many of whose institutions were effectively being run by federal judges -- the prisons, the schools," says Cooper. Reagan had a storehouse of anecdotes he would tell about judges who coddled criminals or thwarted businesses. And liberal state judges like the late Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird, appointed by his successor Jerry Brown, had also irked Reagan by halting executions of death row inmates.

See: Reagan and judges

[California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Bird loaded up death row but did not clean it out]:

...Rose Bird, the euphoniously named former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, will be remembered as the woman judge who simply wouldn't allow the State of California to kill. In 61 straight cases she led the high court to overturn death sentences... she became the first chief justice in the history of the state to be removed by popular acclaim... In 1974 she worked as Jerry Brown's chauffeur during his successful bid for the statehouse. Brown returned the favor in spades, appointing Bird to the post of Agriculture Secretary. In that office, which had traditionally gone to a grower, Bird showed her liberal stripes. She banned the use of a short-handled hoe that broke workers' backs and defended their right to organize. In 1977 Brown appointed Bird to the Chief Justice slot on the California high court. The appointment was controversial from the start; she had no experience on the bench... Bird's tenure at the helm of California's top court inspired as much rancor within the halls of justice as without. She was shunned and snubbed by her colleagues. It was not surprising that sitting justices disliked her... She and two other left-leaning justices were removed by a 2 to 1 vote in 1986. It was the first time that Californians had dismantled their high judiciary body and the recall election created a politicized judiciary that continues to poison verdicts to this day. Her main legacy is the 500 people sitting on death row in California prisons. If she had not been there to complicate the discussion, it is likely that many of them would have been executed. Instead, California has the largest backlog of death row inmates in the nation.

See: Rose Bird

[ouster of Rose Bird from Court]

'86 vote: Ouster of Bird the catalyst

Whatever the reasons for the reversals, the system that has evolved is not what voters expected in 1986, when they replaced Chief Justice Rose Bird and two liberal colleagues for overturning nearly every death sentence they considered. The Mercury News review excluded the 64 death sentences overturned by the Bird court from 1978 to 1986... In the 1986 election, voters set in motion a dramatic political and legal shift in California's death penalty landscape, opening the way for Republican Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson to fill the state Supreme Court with conservative justices.

see: 1986 vote: Ouster of Bird 10% down page

[One bad judge is worse than 100 killers]

Some of the nation's most powerful, and dangerous people are not carrying weapons. Nor do they wield their destruction on the streets. Most of the damage is done while sitting "on the bench" or in a box. When their power is abused, little or nothing is done to remove them.
thinking back to California in the late 70's, and the push to remove Rose Bird from the bench. Bird was decisively liberal, and yes, California at that time was conservative, especially in the south. They media seemed to favor her removal, and after much effort by state Republicans, she was ousted.

See: dangerous judges

12/13/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's another one for you from a
"Flares in the Darkness" commenter:
Anonymous said...

Took, Took, Tookie goodbye,
Took, Took, Tookie don't cry.
The choo-choo train that takes me away from you,
no words can tell how sad it makes me.
Kiss me, Tookie, and then
I'll do it over again.
Watch for the mail,
I'll never fail,
if you don't get a letter
then you'll know I'm in jail.
Took, Took, Tookie don't cry,
Took, Took, Tookie goodbye!

12/14/2005 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger iotm said...

I agree, death penalty for murderers. So when is Bush going to be executed for killing by his own admission 30,000 Iraqis, and in reality more like 200,000?

Oh wait, yet another contradiction.

Ho hum, logic scores another point against savagery.

12/14/2005 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Gain said...

I do not have time today to read all the comments, so my apologies if I am repeating someone else's point.

The best argument for the death penalty- in the case of a multiple murderers like Tookie- is that if the worst penalty is LPWP, then there is an insufficient dis-incentive for someone who has committed one murder to not commit another.

Laws which provide no punishment for murder are not just ineffective in preserving life; they are immoral.

12/14/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Gain said...


I see you are a logic and math challenged leftist. So let's see if I can help you with the math.


Pre Rescue-Mission Deaths (24 Years- 1979- 2003)This excludes the numbers (1,000,000) who were killed in wars initiated by Saddam.

300,000 in mass graves + another 300,000 disappeared (at a minimum) + 500,000 infants dead b/c of malnutrition(according to UNICEF) divided by 24 = 45,833 unnecessary deaths per year.

Post Rescue-Mission Deaths

5,000 innocents killed by coalition forces + 25,000 killed by terrorists ( al Q and domestic)
divided by 2.5 = 12,500 deaths per year.

So you are incensed by the death of 12,500 people per year in the fight for freedom but not the least bit bothered by 45,000 being slaughtered per year to keep a dictator happy.

If I may assist, even attributing more than 5,000 post-rescue deaths to Bush, which is ridiculous, Chimpbushhitler needs to kill 112,500 innocent people before he is at zero.

How about you? My number is zero.

12/14/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Tookie was scum...murdering scum. Everything after he was caught (children's books, etc., though, somehow, he couldn't see to be debriefed by gang intel cops) was the con of a murdering scum, who was given a much better chance (26 years and numerous appeals while he pumped iron and rasn the gang from the visitor's room) than he gave those 4 people.

The teller in this saga is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would not involve itself. If that group will allow your date with the executioner, then the evidence is there.

12/15/2005 01:41:00 PM  

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