The latest buzz on the death penalty is in regard to Stanley “Tookie” Williams--the founder of the notorious Crips
terror street gang of Los Angeles--who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December 13th for the 1979 murders of four people.
Like Mumia Abu Jamal, Stanley Williams has many a “star” in his corner pushing for the commutation of his impending execution, switching it to life in prison without parole. Former Crip Calvin Broadus, better known to the world as rapper Snoop Dogg, is most especially in favor of keeping Mr. Williams alive because,
"Stanley 'Tookie' Williams is not just a regular old guy, he's an inspirator [sic]. He inspires me, and I know I inspire millions."Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who portrayed Williams in a movie about the latter’s life--Redemption--says that the only birthday present he wants from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is “clemency for Stan Tookie Williams.” Mr. Foxx’s birthday is December 13th.
What is it about cold-blooded murderers that brings out the sympathies of celebrities? Is it the murder of senior citizens and women? Perhaps it’s the heroism of shooting other men in the back that gets those Hollywood injustice motors running.
Such people as Mr. Dogg and Mr. Foxx would argue that Stanley Williams is a changed man from the one who vowed to get back at the jury members who convicted him and who decided on his sentence. The writer of children’s books warning against gang activity and the nominee for the increasingly discredited Nobel Prize has never admitted guilt for his crimes, nor has he apologized to the families of the murdered or to the community which he terrorized. But those who style themselves as his advocates want him to escape the consequences of his actions.
I suppose that such people as Mr. Foxx and Mr. Dogg would argue that, implicit in the word 'redemption’ is the allowance to completely escape from earthly penalties. But even Jesus—said to be sinless and certainly no murderer--didn’t escape those, nor did the men next to him.
One of the odder things about Mr. Williams' position and those who support clemency for him, notes National Review Online columnist Jack Dunphy, is that Mr. Williams claims that he is innocent of all the charges. If that is the truth, then why does he need redemption? If Misters Foxx and Dogg really believe everything that Mr. Williams says about his case, let them be brave enough to ask Arnold to pardon the “innocent man.”
But the entertainers won’t do that because they know just how far they can go with this anti-death penalty advocacy or with any possible racial solidarity that they might claim to have with with Mr. Williams.
Why else are they speaking out for someone as heinous as Mr. Williams? Because that's how most of our "betters" do things: without any regard to the consequences of their actions. Such gestures and posturing look good to the undiscerning.
Additionally, Misters Foxx and Dogg no longer have to live in the 'hood; where Tookie's spiritual spawn continue to wage war on their own communities. Now that's a true escape.
More Tookie blogging:
Flap has many, many links on the fight to save the redeemed man who's really innocent. Arnold is considering the clemency.
Booker Rising also links to many opinions—of varying quality--both for and against the execution.
Williams was once a heartless shotgun-bearing thug who personally carried out some of the Black-on-Black butchery that Snoop [Dogg] glorifies in his loathsome gangsta rap recordings and continues to be admired by many in the very community he once terrorised. [SNIP]
Many of the artists who have leapt aboard the USS Save Tookie are, in fact, cynically using his case to shore up their sagging “street” credentials by demonstrating to their gangsta-loving fans that they are still “down for the cause”. And since they all derive their “standing” in the ‘hood from their sickening glorification of the very exploits that landed Big Tookie on Death Row they can’t seriously be held to genuinely care for the life of this Black man when they devote all of their artistic energies to rhyming about “smoking”, “dropping” or “taking out” other Black men with this or that assault weapon.
Best line read: in regard to the fact that Mr. Williams has written books for children, a suggestion as title for his final opus:
“Tookie Takes a Dirt Nap”
(Edited for clarity and sundry on November 28, 2005 at 11:00 PM PST)