Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Capital punishment

The state of California executed Tookie Williams last night. I don't know enough to have an opinion of his guilt or innocence, and I'm not for a second excusing violent behavior. But though he maintained he didn't commit those four murders, he did anti-gang work from prison. I think that should have counted for something: if not complete redemption, then clearly progress toward it. An African-American man sentenced to die in this country has very little chance of getting that reduced, let alone overturned. He had no external reason to turn his life around. Yet, apparently, he did.

And even if he hadn't, if killing is wrong it is wrong. Whether you're acting in your capacity as a paid employee of the state, or in a desperate, intoxicated rage, it is wrong to take a life. I don't understand the thinking of people who believe in the death penalty. Can anyone enlighten me? Tookie would have been under strict lockdown forever. He never could have killed again. Why was it necessary to kill him?

My friend Beck wrote, "I wonder what Jesus would think... after crucifixion, to whom would Jesus give the needle?"


Mimi said...

Lord have Mercy.

The Death Penalty diminshes all of us (as does the war, but I digress).

Lorna said...

We don't have the death penalty in western europe. And I'm glad of it. I don't know the ins and outs of this case, but to deny anyone the chance to reform (while out of harms way in prison)and then to stop that reform affecting others - I wonder is justice really served then?

Your friend said it better than I could :)

SingingOwl said...

Isn't it inexplicable that so many church folks are apposed to abortion while being in favor of the death penalty? A mystery to me--so I am no help explaining the rationale behind this execution. It made me think of Carla Faye Tucker, whose execution broke my heart.