Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Capital Punishment: Remember the Real Issue!

Do you feel better since Stanley Williams was executed this week by the state of California? If so, why do you feel better? Do you feel safer? Is it a feeling of satisfaction? A life for a life?

I watched the pre-game show on CNN hosted by Larry King. Some of Larry's guest were defense attorney Mark Geragos, conservative radio talk show host and the prosecutor for Williams' trial in 1979. The prosecutor was so excited about being on national TV that he rarely quit grinning hugely.

Opponents of the death penalty debated all night and lost. The death penalty is neither a matter of the severity of the crime nor the criminal's conduct after the crime. It should not matter whether there was one victim or 200 victims. It should not matter whether the criminal is or ever will be repentent and rehabilitated.

It doesn't matter. We don't execute criminals because of what they are. We execute criminals because of what WE are. Uncivilized.

2 comments:

........... said...

Hi Joe,
I have been following the whole "Tookie" Williams thing. I have to agree with you. What good did taking his life do? I heard he was actually writing children's books trying to steer the youth away from gangs. If he could get even one kid from joining a gang and committing to a life of crime and drugs, would not keeping him alive in prison be worth it?
Second, he had a chance to admitt he was guilty and would not have had to face the death penalty--instead he claimed his innocence till the end.

Hearing a case like this is definitely making me lean more towards your side on the whole issue. I wish I could have seen that debate you spoke of. I would have loved to have heard the arguements from both sides and processed the information to come up with my own conclusions on the matter.
Keep up the good work.
John

Joe said...

I disagree with the death penalty in any case; however, the Williams case proves to me that we are only interested in revenge. After 24 years on death row and many contributions to the campaign against gangs, we still executed him because we owe it to the family of the victims. Revenge. Satisfaction of a life for a life. That's not justice. Williams was no longer a threat to society and he had in fact been punished by 24 years on death row. All of which appears to have rehabilitated him. Then we killed him.