Sunday, December 18, 2005

Redemption Songs

Had I been drinking a cup of coffee at the time, I'd have spit it all over my newspaper when I read this, from columnist Mary Sanchez, on Stanley "Tookie" Williams:

Williams was a cold-blooded killer, convicted of four deaths but also notorious for nurturing the Crips into a gang movement that threaten minority communities nationwide.

Williams should not have been executed. Not because he had reached some sort of earthly redemption as he claimed, and therefore deserved life in prison. But because the evil he propagated through the Crips could only begin to be rectified by a lifetime of misery behind bars.

Sanchez admits no doubt about Williams's guilt -- he "was a cold-blooded killer" -- but he was so evil, his acts so heinous, that he needed another fifteen, twenty, thirty years in prison to repent and find redemption. And Sanchez believes the state of California wrongly denied him that opportunity. Unbelievable. California should not be in the business of guiding the incarcerated and condemned toward redemption; it should concern itself with carrying out the will of the people, justly and fairly, and executing its laws -- as well as its capital murderers.

I'd ask Sanchez this: how many decades' worth of seeking redemption for wrongdoing and of doing good works were Williams's four victims denied?

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