Fiat Lux

It's Latin for 'Let there be Light'

On Tookie Williams

on December 12, 2005

I’m surprised that Governor Schwarzenegger denied clemency to Williams.

From the information I have currently, I think I would have granted clemency simply because it seems to me that Williams alive provides a service to society by continuing to speak out about why gangs are bad. Williams can’t do that dead, plus his execution could polarize some members of the community in negative ways. I have not done an exhaustive review of the case though, so perhaps if I examined all the facts I might feel differently.

To be clear: I am not opposed to the death penalty as a concept. I believe that there are some crimes that display such a complete disregard for your fellow humans that it is not unreasonable to deprive the person who commits those crimes of his life as the price of their acts. That said, I am well aware that the American judicial system has massive systemic problems that result in the death penalty being applied unfairly. I think there should be a moratorium on its implementation until such time as we can fix those inequities.

Or put more simply, the system is broken, but I still think that some really evil bastards deserve to fry for what they did.

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