Tookie Williams is the self-acknowledged co-founder of the Crips, as such, he bears some burden of the responsibilty for a few generations of corruption and blood shed among African-Americans, particularly African-American males. However, Tookie has either experienced a true conversion or merely played the system well. He appears to be reformed and striving to correct his earlier poor judgement. He's written children's books, garnered a Nobel Prize nomination, and actively speaks out against the gang legacy he helped to create.
I don't think that a person, who is proven guilty of murder, should be released to live in the general population, but Tookie's situation proposes a serious dilemma. If Tookie is executed, will our penal system be creating an icon, a martyr, to be sanctified at the altars of disenfranchisement and nihilism? Will the latest generation that belongs to Tookie's legacy have their lack of faith in themselves and the possibilities beyond street knowledge reninforced and supplemented, if their reformed founder is dealt a dose of justice without mercy or compassion?
Click on the Lighthouse in the post's title listen to the story at NPR.org:
Facing Execution, Tookie Williams Hopes for Clemency
by Mandalit del Barco
Morning Edition, November 21, 2005 · Crips co-founder Tookie Williams faces execution in California on Dec. 13 unless the governor grants him clemency. Williams, convicted of four murders, has become a noted anti-gang crusader, writer of children's books, and a Nobel Prize nominee while in prison at San Quentin.
THE MORAL IMPORTANCE OF CLEMENCY
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet
Governors are afraid of being seen as soft on crime, runningfrom granting clemency to convicted murderers. But in thecase of 'Tookie' Williams, it must be considered.
Victim’s brother breaks silence
By JOHN SHULTZ / The Kansas City Star
Through 24 years of legal wrangling over the fate of the man convicted of killing his brother, Wayne Owens stayed above the fray. ... In that time, convicted murderer Stanley “Tookie” Williams, co-founder of the Crips street ...Tuesday, November 22, 2005 (KansasCity.com)
No Special Break for Tookie
Celebrities and 'Redemption' Aren't the Point. States Shouldn't Kill.
By Eugene RobinsonFriday, December 2, 2005; A23