Tookie Williams's Last Lifeline

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Stanley “Tookie” Williams lived a wasted life. He chose, at an early age, to kill for money, to sell drugs, to destroy families (including his own), and to make life for others as miserable as he’d made his own. He founded a street gang and supervised its stretch from Los Angeles to almost every major city in the US. With the help of a fawning press and Hollywood, murdering for kicks in the Tookie Williams style became as glamorous as murdering for politics did with the Black Panthers.

Tonight in California, barring some unforeseen intervention, Stanley Williams will pass quietly to sleep, then, I pray, to an eternal reward after some sort of cleansing to make him perfect.

Between his despicable life and his state-sanctioned death, Williams apparently had a change of heart. While never accepting responsibility for the murders he commited and ordered, he at least tried to discourage others from following his detestable example. We hear he also converted to Christianity of some stripe. We hope that his conversion included a private confession and perfect act of contrition.

Still, I can’t complain that California will execute him. Though my feelings on the death penalty are very weak, our system provides for such punishment. And it is just that–punishment, not prevention.

Ed Morrissay (The Last Hours of Tookie) blogs tonight:

I don’t think the state should take a life unless the person represents a present threat to the safety and security of the public, or a threat to the national security of the US or our allies. I also don’t think that the death penalty saves us any money, and needlessly clogs our appellate courts with frivolous motions and delaying tactics. When we have the person locked up, he should stay locked up – and I mean locked up for good, and none of the Club Fed treatment, either. Three hots and a cot, and anything else depends on how well the prisoner behaves. That to me settles the entire case in a relatively expeditious manner without having twenty years of legal motions keeping the case alive.

For the most part, I agree. However, for religious reasons, I also disagree.

Would Stanley Williams have converted were he not facing a certain death at a probable time and date by a certain means?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

What we do know is this: Williams converted under the duress of knowing (more or less) the hour of his death. Unlike the ten virgins, the hour and the day for Tookie Williams has been known for quite some time. In this sense, the state of California gave him 20+ years to perfect his conversion and contrition. He’s a lucky soul, if not a lucky man.

I don’t think I could sentence someone to death unless I knew they would present a continuing danger to innocents. Nor could I deny the state the option of executing those like Tookie Williams who seem able to reform only in preparation for perpetual damnation or salvation. It’s a harsh conversion, but a conversion nonetheless.

Still, were the Guv to grant a last-minute reprieve, I would thank God for the merciful intervention

May Williams’s death come peacefully, and may God’s mercy bring him to everlasting life in the company of the saints and the souls of his victims who, no doubt, converted in the split second between the time the bullets left Tookie’s gun and the time they gave up their souls. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin is rounding up the nuts using Mr. Williams’s death to get their mugs on television.