Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 2, 2005 / 1 Kiselev, 5766

Tookie's timeout

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The celebrity rush to save the life of convicted murderer and gang founder Tookie Williams may be the best argument yet for eliminating the death penalty.


Dead, he's a martyr; alive and confined for life, he's just another nobody.


I have no wish to further elevate Williams in the public eye, but the circus surrounding his Dec. 13 execution date forces reflection.


First my bias and other disclaimers: I'm a relatively recent convert from the slow-gas-leak solution to death row crowding to a reluctant capital punishment opponent. I oppose the death penalty for one reason: The state makes mistakes, and one innocent murdered by the state is too many.


Do I think Tookie is innocent of killing four people, as the case against him made clear? No, I don't. All appeals to higher courts, including the reliably liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, confirm that his trial was fair and his verdict just.


Does he deserve to live? My emotions say "no." My reason skips to a different question, one that National Journal White House correspondent Carl Cannon posed in the National Review (June 19, 2000) article that helped shift my thinking:


"The right question to ask is not whether capital punishment is an appropriate — or a moral — response to murders," Cannon wrote. "It is whether the government should be in the business of executing people convicted of murder knowing to a certainty that some of them are innocent."


That certainty has been established by DNA tests showing that many death row inmates did not commit the crimes for which they were convicted. Case closed.


The painful part of this position is that we who oppose capital punishment on these grounds have to breathe the same air as the celebrities, political panderers and other hankie-twisters who materialize every time a "Tookie" runs out of options and faces a far more humane death than that which he delivered to others.


To refresh your memory, Tookie — who founded the notoriously vicious Los Angeles gang the Crips — was convicted of killing four people during a murder-and-robbery spree in 1979 that netted him roughly $250.


His first victim was Albert Owens, a store clerk in Whittier, Calif., whom Tookie murdered to eliminate witnesses and "because he was white." The others were an elderly Chinese couple and their daughter, whom Williams referred to as "Buddha-heads." All were shot at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun.


At this point, most normal people are entertaining uncivilized thoughts about how best to dispose of such an person. Yet Williams' defenders insist he is reformed and point to children's books he has written in prison urging kids to stay away from gangs. They also point to his 1997 statement apologizing for his role in glamorizing the gang life, though he never apologized for his crimes.


The usual suspects have mobilized in his behalf, including Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, Jesse Jackson, Bianca Jagger, Snoop Dogg (a fellow former Crip), Anjelica Huston, Desmond Tutu, '60s radical Tom Hayden and Mario Cuomo, to name a few.


Perhaps some of these celebrities share the same concerns I've expressed. But others, including an activist visiting California schools in recent days to enlist children in a "Save Tookie" campaign, make it difficult to steady one's hands and stick to one's convictions.


Stefanie Faucher, projects director for the grassroots group Death Penalty Focus, made one of her stops several days ago at an "alternative" Oakland high school, where she told students there was little evidence to convict Williams, despite what all those courts and judges had to say.


The class discussion rambled around a bit, making pit stops to bash President George W. Bush and criticize California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's language skills, before Faucher left with 29 letters petitioning the governor for clemency.


To those who skipped Snoop Dogg's "Save Tookie" rally, it seems clear that the courts have done their job and that Williams is guilty. But it is also abundantly clear that his death — and the dramas surrounding such executions — grant celebrity status to the least deserving among us.


Our first principle should be never to kill an innocent person, and thus err on the side of life. As recompense for delaying the dark gratification of revenge, we liberate ourselves from involuntary servitude as audience to those for whom Death Row has become a stage.


Finally, killers such as Tookie Williams, condemned to life without parole, vanish into the hell of obscurity where they belong.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2005, Tribune Media Services

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles