Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie Williams and Capital Punishment

Not surprisingly, our illustrious Guvernator has rejected Tookie Williams' appeals for clemency. That means Corby and I will be standing vigil outside the gates of San Quentin in the cold (well, cold by California standards) tonight. We are firm in our opposition to state-sanctioned murder. We live only about four miles from SQ so we feel obligated to honor the lives of each person who's executed -- may there be no more! -- by standing vigil with others who feel as we do. We go even when the person being executed doesn't have much popular support, because we believe every life has value and to kill someone in revenge only brings 'us' (the people, the state) down to the level of just another killer. However, in the case of Tookie, a man who has demonstrated his redemption, we know there will be a huge crowd. In fact, there are rallies going on all over the country today and tonight (see TW website).

What more can we ask from a convicted murderer than redemption? He cannot undo what has been done and bring back the dead. I don't understand how killing the killer can bring sorrowing family and friends of a homicide victim any solace. And in the case of Tookie, even though he was convicted, we don't really know if he committed the crime for which he is to pay with his life.

Where there are crowds, especially emotional ones, there are media. Usually the TV camerapeople and reporters stand on a nearby roof and shoot photos down at the crowd. I know that this time it's gonna be a real mob scene. I hope some of them will be doing one-on-one interviews with vigilers.

Buddhists sit in meditation up near the speakers' area. I usually sit a spell with them. There will be speakers and musicians and various kinds of testimony, as well as people leafletting and pushing petitions.

This will be a big night, and a very sad one. Standing in silence and waiting for a prison spokesperson to announce the dastardly deed has been accomplished is really moving and spooky. I wish I could return to this blog and report that the execution had not taken place. I'm not hopeful that that will be the case.

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