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Blogcritics on the Execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams

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Stanley “Tookie” Williams, founder of the Crips gang, convicted murderer of four, became another cause celebre of the anti-capital punishment movement due to his apparent prison “redemption.” He authored a memoir and several children’s books while in jail and was nominated seven times for the Nobel Prize due to his writing and work on anti-gang education.

Regardless, he was denied clemency by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and executed last night by lethal injection at San Quentin, having never admitted to the killings. Is “redemption” possible without confession? Are good works enough to change the course of “justice”? Does the system work?

News and thoughts:

Tookie Williams Almost Fooled Us
Could the Hollywood Moonbats have picked a worse death row candidate to champion? What were their motives?
Posted to Culture by Patfish on December 13, 2005 08:06 PM

Stanley “Tookie” Williams – Justice Delayed No Longer
On Monday Governor Schwarzenegger surprised no one when he denied the clemency request of Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams self-admitted founder of the Crips gang and convicted quadruple murderer. As I write this, Williams is scheduled…
Posted to Politics by Dave Nalle on December 13, 2005 04:11 AM

True Crime Update 12/13/05
Intriguing crimes across the nation, notable for the type of crime, the celebrity of the criminal, or both. Claimed to Have a Bomb-He’s Now Dead There’s still much unknown about this story. Soon enough the wife will be on Greta telling…
Posted to Culture by Patfish on December 13, 2005 04:09 AM

Time for Tookie to Pay the Piper

In theory, I’m somewhat inclined to oppose the death penalty. Now, people who go around killing innocent folk have it coming to them, but I don’t know how much good it really does. More importantly, I don’t much…
Posted to Culture by Al Barger on December 13, 2005 01:05 AM

Quotes of Note that reflect what conservatives think. Or are up against. on “Enemies” From various and sundry. Some plainly true, some unclear, some make no sense at all. ‘You can discover what your enemy fears most…
Posted to Politics by Patfish on December 12, 2005 05:35 AM

Should Tookie be Spared?
The prevailing controversy surrounding Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ impending execution on December 13 is a good example of why the death penalty should be eliminated in states like California. Williams has been on death row for over 20 years. He can…
Posted to Culture by Loretta Dillon on December 12, 2005 12:19 AM

The Plight of Stanley “Tookie” Williams
It would be better if Stanley “Tookie” Williams, co-founder of the Crips, were not put to death for the murders he was convicted of because martyrdom is no place for someone who has done the things he’s done. It’s just…
Posted to Culture by diana hartman on December 11, 2005 12:51 AM

True Crime Update 12/6/05
Intriguing crimes across the nation, notable for the type of crime, the celebrity of the criminal, or both. Manuel Gehring Saved Taxpayers a Lot of Money For they found his murdered children. Murdered by his own hand. Thanks to Manuel for…
Posted to Culture by Patfish on December 6, 2005 06:01 AM

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • Tookie had served his time when he had wallowed in prison for over twenty years.

    Death row makes sense only when an individual is deemed to be irreclaimable as in the case of pyschopaths and pedophiles.

  • GoHah

    #1: do you seriously think that punishment of 20 years in prison–let alone life without parole or execution–fits the crime of murdering four people?

  • Dave Nalle

    Well, the Constitution kind of prohibits torturing him to death, GoHah.


  • I think they should have strung him up and then and there if our legal system is based on the premise of an eye for eye which it supposedly isnt.

    Who cares that Tookie actually preferred to die than admit guilt.

    Life without parole is a waste of tax money. Prisons are overflowing and crimes are becoming more heinous.

    There is a deeper problem here and stuffing the prisons isnt the answer.

  • GoHah

    Express lanes!


    …and Soylent Green!

    Seriously, I spent the last hour reading some very good argument for and against the death penalty, in addition to all that I have read and researched for many years, I still think that the death penalty does have a lawful value, but should only be used in absolutely proven cases. I think child murderers should go to the head of the line, too.

  • Bliffle

    My take, after reading what I could find, is that Tookie was a ruthless manipulator and killer, but most importantly, an accomplished conman. I don’t see much to doubt in his conviction, most of the claims of his supporters are rebutted, and I think his ‘redemption’ is fake, a story created entirely by Williams and successfully employed to manipulate gullible people on The Outside.

    Aside from that, I think his books are a joke. They were ghost written and are impractical. Also, very expensive: $84 for a 24 page book is a lot of money for precious little. The books seem to consist of nothing but exhortations against gangs and a glossary of gang terms. The glossary is of no use to anyone except police. Oh, and potential gang members! They say that Williams would be effective as a speaker against gangs, but I think exactly the opposite. And clemency at this time would have offered an escape to gang members. And would have demonstrated the efficacy of jailhouse lawyering and conning.

    Remember, Williams had 26 years to fulltime develop his cons and excuses. The poor people who he manipulated were simply under-equipped to deal with such an onslaught of alibiing.

    As for being an ‘expert’, I don’t think so. Did Williams study immerse himself in Psychology and Anthropology while in jail to find the roots of ganga? No. He spent his time rationalizing his own behaviour and manipulating others. Williams knew nothing about gangs except how to climb to the top and how to sieze power.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Very good thoughts from everyone here but my only gripe is why do these worthless piles of sh!t like Tookie get any media attention to begin with? I think that’s as much to blame as the people committing these crimes!! Getting this type of attention only ups the ante for other gang members and criminals. If they are going to take up valuable air time with his story then they should show him being executed as well..But, instead of lethal injection he should’ve been shot in the face. Wanna see an ex-gang member,tough guy cry on national TV??

  • Nancy

    Williams isn’t the first con to come up with a celebrity “con”; I seem to remember another murderer, a con, who wrote a few books & managed to con some quite Big Names into getting him released, shortly after which he killed again & was re-convicted, to their embarrassment. Some people never learn, I guess, or maybe they believe that, being celebrities themselves, they can’t be conned, or that their celebrity is so pervasive & persuasive that their intervention should make a difference?

  • sr

    Will we still be around when the friends of cookie tookie wookie williams prove he was innocent? Sounds like OJ out their still busting his ass looking for his wifes killer. Im sure they will get together with OJ and find clues on the golf course. tookie, no one will remember your name by the end of this year. Adios Stupid.

  • Eric Olsen

    I am opposed to the death penalty for a variety of reasons, but primarily the inherent faultiness of human beings and therefore the very real posibility of the innocent beign executed, which has an air of finality about it.

    Regarding Tookie specifically, I don’t see reason to have given him special treatment within the current system – it completely baffles me why he would not admit to the killings or cooperate with the authorities regarding the Crips. If he really wanted to clean up gang activity it seems to me he would have included these important actions

  • Ah, Eric. You’ve made the critical error of clinging to the illusion that human lives have value. Set yourself free and embrace the Deathkultur!

    But seriously, as a matter of principle, I know that I ought to oppose the death penalty because there’s really no justification for granting to government a right which we don’t grant to individuals. If people can’t execute each other for cause, why should they be able to have government do their dirty work for them?

    The answer to this for most rational people is that government should be given that unprecedented power.

    But the flipside of this is that those who violate the fundamental compact of society and choose to take human life put themselves outside of the bounds of natural law by doing so. In such a case they essentially are no longer entitled to the rights all humans enjoy because they don’t recognize the basic responsibilities which come with those rights and rights and responsibilities cannot be separated.

    That being the case, anyone really ought to be able to kill them on sight, and presumably a community can also hire someone to do that killing for them. Of course, the natural extension of this logic is that those who violate other fundamental human rights – such as the right to hold property – also ought to end up outside the law and subject to death. So it’s the death penalty for thieves as well. Not to mention for kidnappers, rapists, con men, spammers, plagiarists and just about anyone else who commits a genuine crime.

    This is the point where pure libertarianism needs to be tempered with some common sense.


  • Eric Olsen

    A Boy and His Dog

  • Guppusmaximus

    “such as the right to hold property – also ought to end up outside the law and subject to death…”

    I think that happened in the old west…

    Honestly, what is a society to do with people who kill with cold intent and have no guilt or remorse? Am I supposed to foot the bill to keep these useless inhumane f*cks alive especially when they didn’t think anything of shooting somebody “point blank” over material posessions.


    In another blog, maybe Captain’s Quarters, a commenter who is or was a prosecuting attorney made a good point about the death penalty: What is to stop someone from killing someone, or more than one person if they know that the worst they will get is life in prison? HE takes it a bit further, and offers some less likely instances, IMO, but it is a point to consider.

    Dave, you are almost into Sharia with your examples above.

  • Nancy

    Some aspects of Sharia are very attractive, and certainly more just in their dealings with some kinds of crime than western law, which has devolved into farce or adding insult to injury in a far-too-high percentage of cases.

  • Eric Olsen

    no study yet has shown the death penalty to be a deterrent to violent crime, and sharia is not a direction I want to go, as temporarily satisfying as it might be to simply snuff someone who has wronged you

  • I think Gup has the essence of a sensible perspective on the death penalty. If we aren’t going to rehabilitate them and they have nothing to offer society, then what justification is there for spending money to keep them alive when they’ve already comitted heinous crimes?


  • Eric Olsen

    because there is always doubt (in he general sense), and because that is not the kind of society we should be – some things you do because they are right, not because they are more economical, like regime change in Iraq

  • “no study yet has shown the death penalty to be a deterrent to violent crime, and sharia is not a direction I want to go, as temporarily satisfying as it might be to simply snuff someone who has wronged you”

    life in prison has not proven to be an effective deterrent either…i’m not sure this either/or thing is the way to go when arguing for/against the death penalty…in the mind of someone who is dangerously determined, there is no such thing as a deterrent…they have a goal, end of story…that goal isn’t necessarily someone’s death, but on the way to meet the need (which is the goal) someone may well die…

    to no post in particular, we as a society would do well to pump our money and energy into proven programs of prevention and allowing new programs the chance to prove themselves…people have needs and they will meet them in the most productive way they know…for those with few skills and resources, it might get ugly and not look all that productive from a more advantageous vantage point…not everyone has the same vantage point, and that point is defined by one’s skills, education, experience, and resources…
    if one has very little of any of these, one’s vantage point is limited — and so will be their options as they perceive them…it hardly matters what anyone else sees from the suburbs or their penthouse view…if you’ve not looked out onto the world from the projects or a trailer park, you’re going to have to step outside your experience and make the effort to understand the limits others feel — real or not…
    if i think i can’t given what i’ve been taught and seen, then i can’t…this is my reality…it will take some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary for me to see your blue sky when the brown haze of air pollution is all i’ve ever known…

    those already incarcerated and thought to be hopeles probably aren’t going to be rehabilitated…this is no justification for continuing this wasteful cycle…prison and death don’t work to prevent 10 yr olds from growing up into murderers: we get it…
    what has worked? why did it work? who did it work best for? under what circumstances was the program most effective? pump money, time and energy into these answers and eventually you’ll have whittled down not only the prison population but also the number of people in dire need of mental health services, government assistance, unemployment, and those in need of health care…

    an entire subculture of people exists that knows the rest of us don’t really give a shit…we pump just enough money into the welfare programs (which remains a fraction of corporate welfare) to salve our conscious and then we bitch about it — from the safety and convenience of capitol hill, coffee shops, and our own cozy living rooms, not the street…

    so what there are those of us who simply don’t possess the genetic structure to make ourselves into ceo’s and heads of state — or even manager of a diner…many have found happiness, satisfaction, and success in jobs some of us would never consider…but when even those jobs aren’t available and tuition assistance is only good for those who don’t also have daycare expenses and rent to pay, what’s a person to do?

    stanley wasn’t always a loser…his organizational skills and charisma would’ve taken him a long way had they been guided in a different direction — say when he was about 10 yrs old…but just as the bulk of america isn’t thinking about any one 10 yr old right now, they weren’t then either…
    so there’s a kid being bullied, hassled, beat up, and offered money by the local thugs to do things he shouldn’t…it’s money he needs to help feed himself and his baby sister and his mother — who the hell cares? who’s with him right this minute looking out for his best interest? so what that his father ran off and his mother works two jobs? sure, that explains the kid’s plight but it doesn’t do jack about it…if you’re not part of the solution, then shut the hell up…seriously, you’re not even important enough to be part of the problem, you’re just a buzzing of flies…

  • Eric Olsen

    I agree in general, but it’s the details of how to do these things that cause the most trouble.

    “Deterrence” is often used as a justification for various kinds of punishment, including the death penalty

  • The problem, for me, with the death penalty – and i read this, is that with the appeals and all, it costs more to kill someone than to keep them alive and in jail for the rest of their life. It’s an interesting and little known fact; does that help this debate? not sure. Just thought i’d comment.

    I ‘m not sure where i stand on the entire issue, but i found the above interesting.


  • Dave says: there’s really no justification for granting to government a right which we don’t grant to individuals. If people can’t execute each other for cause, why should they be able to have government do their dirty work for them?

    Individuals ARE granted the right to “execute each other for cause”. It’s called the right of self-defense. If someone issues what I perceive to be a credible threat to kill me (and or members of my family), you can bet your bottom dollar that I would execute that person if I had the means to do so, rather than allowing him to make good on his threat. And if he killed a child of mine, then I would be happy to do my own “dirty work” and personally execute him, even if he was not directly threatening my life, and then lie to the government that it was in self-defense.

  • “I agree in general, but it’s the details of how to do these things that cause the most trouble.”

    it’s expensive and time-consuming…it takes a lot of manpower and dedication…it requires immense follow-up, follow through, and accountability…
    in this, it is absolutely no different than the current system of ignore, address, imprison…there’s money and manpower for a system that doesn’t even work…there is then no excuse for not diverting those resources down another path…what’s the worst that could happen? we’re already familiar with square one so what’s to risk in trying something else and ending up right back where one started? or, by doing something different, something different happens…

    numerous studies have been done to support the success of those programs that address the needs of young parents and young children…it’s not difficult or complicated, it just needs to be done…

    it’s unfortunate and not a wee bit ironic that the needs of the impoverished (meaning more than money), the needs of disaster victims, and the needs of the wounded returning from war are all being handled largely by donation and volunteers…

    the government (meaning the politicians and those who voted for them) has completely dropped the ball on all three counts…

    did it really take a rocket scientist to figure out that disaster victims relocated to another area would run into conflict with locals? that those returning from a war that knows the most advanced lifesaving and surgical methods ever might be in unprecendented need of limbs, facial reconstruction, and mental health services? that children born into poverty located in gang ridden neighborhoods would end up in prison?

    whoever can least help themselves is going to get the least help…this is not because of physics or genetics, this is because of selfish, misdirected, inhumane regard for one another…

    we are all but a split second and someone’s else’s poor decision away from being one of those people…
    sure we can take the chance that we won’t ever be one of those people, or we can do what is necessary to make sure that if we are ever one of those people, we won’t be one of the pioneering disabled trying desperately to crawl out from under grave misfortune and more red tape than you’d need to wrestle a planet out of orbit…

    many of us can thank our lucky stars that we won’t ever be 10 yrs old again, or at war, or in the middle of a plot of land that was our home just hours ago…we don’t have to worry about being bullied into crime or gathering up what remains of our homes or looking on helplessly as our parents scrimp by…
    and for all our gratitude we do what?

    it’s my opinion that most of us aren’t even thankful…for all the trash people talk about those who believe themselves entitled to aid and relief, the majority of those who don’t have to struggle through absolute loss or a state of chronic need consider themselves very much entitled to their fortune — they worked hard, they spent years at it, they did what needed to be done…
    without the hook and drag of poverty, disability, and disaster, there’s no excuse for anyone to be anything but fortunate…
    and still they would judge those who didn’t make it through the hurdles they themselves never had to deal with on their way up…

    wounded military, little children, and those left homeless and with nothing because of disaster are no less deserving of the chances to succeed than those who didn’t have to jump through these hoops…

    the “details” are only a problem for those who fear seeing themselves in those details and allow that fear to keep them from doing what is needed for those who need the most…

    there but for the grace of God — so far…

  • Jamo

    In response to comment # 12 by Dave Nalle —

    “If people can’t execute each other for cause, why should they be able to have government do their dirty work for them?”

    I think what you are forgetting is that the government is a tool of the people, and by sentencing Tookie to death the government doesn’t kill him, the people who found him guilty and decided upon the death penalty did.

  • Eric Olsen

    Diana, I don’t think too many people will disagree with your general concepts – but again, what are the specific programs your are going to implement, how are you going to do it, etc? I don’tthink are too many who would disagree that we need to take care of our most helpless and children.

  • the programs are already in place; they need the funding to expand and they need the ability to network with other services in their area and across the nation for the purpose of sharing ideas and successes…those already in place include but are not limited to community centers that offer after-school activities/homework help for all ages of school children to include seniors in high school; daycare services and parenting programs for teen parents; new parent programs; new daddy parenting “boot camp” programs; monetary assistance for basic living expenses, public transportation and daycare; literacy and GED programs; college tuition and enrollment assistance; vocational programs; job assistance (interviewing skills, filling out applications, follow-up, what/where of volunteering while waiting for employment, etc); and medical, dental, and mental health services…

    additionally, i have long been in favor of full government funding for everyone’s schooling all the way through a minimum 4 yr degree or full vocational training…if we stop bailing out what the market has decided is not worthy of the american dream (pick any airline vs southwest airlines) there is a goodly chunk of change with which to begin investing in the only resource we really have: human beings…without human beings, all other resources are moot as it is the human being who has come to explore, discover, invent, research, develop, and cure…and the more educated, always the better (except for a cousin of mine who, at the age of 40 is still in school, but he’s not on the streets and that’s a good thing)…

  • witheld

    My dad died when i was eight, my mom was a drug addict. I am now a blue collar, working two jobs / two kids. We are responsible for ourselves. Blaming society as a whole is another wasted excercise.

  • witheld, there is a difference between blaming society and holding society accountable…ours is not a kingdom, it is a democracy…

    the same people who would tell those in need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps appear to have no problem with the government bailing out large businesses…

    millions have been spent to bail out businesses that went on to fail anyway…the investment was a total loss…
    spending millions on college educations and vocational trainings is an investement that never goes away…

    if families allocated their resources the way the government currently does, those families would have at least one starving member and one member who wants for nothing…one would hold a PhD and one would still be holding crayons…