Toot, toot, tookie, goodbye

Burt Prelutsky
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Posted: Dec 17, 2005 6:05 AM
Let me begin by stating that I am in favor of capital punishment. I don’t view it as a deterrent, understand, I consider it the only appropriate punishment for cold-blooded murder. Actually, I have only two objections to it. The first is that the killer with more than one murder to his credit can only be executed the one time. Next, I resent the fact that no matter how much he may have tortured his victims, society has seen fit to send him off as painlessly as possible. I find it bizarre that in a country where mercy killings are illegal even for the terminally ill, only vicious psychopaths and our beloved pets are guaranteed a merciful death.

That brings me to the recently departed Stanley Williams, better known as Tookie. Speaking of which, I, for one, resent that the media -- as if beholden to his defense team -- kept calling this stone-cold killer Tookie, as if he were some child’s teddy bear.

Stanley Williams used a shot gun to blow the heads off four people. That’s some teddy bear.

I knew that Williams was being held up as a reformed character because he supposedly used his influence to steer young people away from gangs. Considering the escalating number of gang-related murders, it seems that Mr. Williams, who was the founding father of the Crips, was a lot better at getting kids into gangs than out of them.

Although, intellectually, I can grasp the point of view of those morally opposed to capital punishment, emotionally I am unable to fathom how they can congregate outside prisons and hold candlelight vigils for mass murderers. Wouldn’t their time be better spent visiting the burial sites of the victims, and leaving flowers instead of candle wax behind?

There are those who claim that Williams, who never even voiced remorse for his crimes, had found redemption behind bars. They point out that he had even written a children’s book. Never having had occasion to read it, it took Michael Medved to point out that Williams had dedicated it to Nelson Mandela. To Nelson Mandela, that is, along with a slew of cop killers!

Some of his fans argue that Williams, having spent over a quarter of a century in prison, was a totally different person than the guy who’d been convicted. Well, it’s true that he hadn’t shot-gunned anybody to death in all that time. But I happen to believe it’s far more relevant that his victims had been deprived of a cumulative hundred years of life by this brute, and that doesn’t even begin to approach what their friends and families lost.

Claiming that it was immoral, after all these years of incarceration, to execute Williams makes as much sense as appearing as amicus curiae on behalf of the man who murders his parents and then pleads for mercy as an orphan. If Williams and his lawyers hadn’t filed appeal after appeal, he would have been executed in far more timely fashion.

To me, the only amusing aspect of this entire matter is that the man was constantly being identified as a Nobel Prize nominee. Sometimes, he was a nominee for literature, other times for peace. For all I know, he may have been nominated for both. He may even have been nominated for medicine, physics and economics. The truth of the matter is that anybody can nominate anyone for a Nobel prize. In fact, considering that the likes of Le Duc Tho, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and his friend Yasser Arafat, have actually been honorees, you can see that not only can absolutely any shmoe be nominated, he can even win.

Quite frankly, I was surprised that Gov. Schwarzenegger allowed the execution to take place. With all the campaigning on behalf of Williams by the Hollywood elite, I fully expected him to capitulate.

I’m glad my instincts were wrong. It took gumption for Schwarzenegger to do the right thing. The Terminator may be gone, but the Exterminator is alive and well and taking care of business in Sacramento.

Hasta la vista, Tookie.