Re "Should we kill this Crip?" Current, Dec. 4
I am tired of the debate over and the outpouring of sympathy for the ruthless, convicted four-time murderer Stanley Tookie Williams. However, I think there is a tragically ironic solution to satisfy both sides of the debate.
One side says, all appeals exhausted, he should pay the price for murdering four people 26 years ago. The other side says that with all the antiviolence and anti-gang writing he's done, the death sentence should be commuted because, now "reformed," he will do more good alive than dead.
Given the time-tested axiom that authors' and artists' early deaths often drive increased fame and demand for their work, it seems to me that the well-deserved death sentence for Williams will clearly satisfy both parties.
For me it's a simple call: The death penalty is immoral. Commute Williams' sentence to life without parole. Don't waste print space telling me what a wonderful person he is. Celebrity status, children's books and engineered nominations don't change facts -- he's a convicted, unrepentant, multiple murderer.
Albert Owens, Tsai-shai Chen Yang, Yen-I Yang and Yu-Chin Yang Lin. Those are the names of the four people Williams murdered over 26 years ago. They were human beings; they had expectations and aspirations. Along with taking their present, Tookie robbed them of their future.
Williams should be granted clemency by the governor, some argue. Why? Because he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? Please. Adolf Hitler was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he was kind to his dog too. Would you grant clemency to Hitler?
Clemency should be granted, all right -- to the families of Williams' victims, who number far more than those for whom he was convicted. Execution is the medium by which they can achieve some degree of clemency and a sense of justice.
If sparing Williams' life can save the life of even one other person, it will be well worth the governor's clemency grant. Taking his life will save no one.
JOHN L. CARLETON
This effort to grant clemency must seem so surreal and absurd to those people who were beaten and abused (much less killed) by Williams. He has become the latest fad in Los Angeles and, now, around the world. Ninety-nine percent of the people who call for his pardon never had to live in the neighborhoods Tookie and his minions controlled, and still do.
Whatever happened to "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime"? How many crimes did Tookie commit that he was not caught and held accountable for? Considering his position as a leader of the Crips, one can only cringe and wonder.
The fact that The Times would devote a Current section (Dec. 4) to a convicted, coldblooded killer who has failed in 20 years of appeals is a disgrace. His execution will do more to dissuade new gangsters from a life of crime than 10,000 children's books or phony Nobel nominations.
Re "Let black Los Angeles decide
Williams' fate," Current, Dec. 4
At last! In the midst of the "Save Tookie" madness, a voice of reason emerges from all the noise. Community activist Ted Hayes' idea of giving Tookie 30-day life extensions based on no gang killings of any kind in the previous 30 days is a simple and elegant solution. If Tookie is as influential and important to changing the attitudes and actions of young black men (and women) normally intent on murder and mayhem, then let him prove it: 30 days at a time for the rest of his life. Works for me.
Clemency for Williams will prove to murderers and gang members that one can commit murder and get away with it simply by "redeeming oneself" while in prison. It is a travesty of justice that this man has lived 26 years longer than the victims of the four murders for which he was convicted.
For more than two decades, all of his appeals have been turned down. If he wants to be an example of a peacemaker and a deterrent to others, he should make a video before he is executed and state that people should not do what he has done and say that he is a bad example. He should take his punishment like a man. He certainly did not give mercy to his victims, who were pleading for their lives.
All countries that still have the death penalty should outlaw it immediately. The United States condemns other nations for their barbaric executions, as in the case of hanging a drug smuggler in Singapore, but skips looking at itself. Families and the state have no forgiveness in their hearts.