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Monday, November 21, 2005

My Two Cents on "Tookie"

As you have heard, Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the co-founder of the infamous Crips street gang, is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 13. A grant of clemency by Arnold Schwarzenegger would be the only action to halt this. Williams was convicted of four murders in 1981. Since then, he has had a "transformation." He has written nine books against gang violence, and "has participated by phone in anti-violence mentoring programs."

However, in my opinion, the question is not, "Has he done enough to make up for the murders?" The answer to this, of course, is that he can't, ever.

I, as others have, believe that no good can come of his execution. Rather, much good can come of his continued outspokeness against gang violence.

However, I think that this argument goes beyond "Tookie." In this case, Stanley Williams represents the potential in every person on death row. If this possibility of redemption is present, then why end a life?

Therefore, I am against the death penalty. This is not because the "Church forces/tells me to." Frankly, that is not possible, because unlike abortion and euthanasia, "There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty," according to Pope Benedict VXI as Cardinal Ratzinger.

Some people may say that killing Stanley Williams is just punishment. But what, may I ask, is the purpose of punishment? When parents send their kids to their rooms, is it because they want to "give them justice," or because they want to stop and prevent the behavior from happening again?

Even if we look at it from a purely Christian perspective, if we prematurely kill an individual, we are responsible for taking away a chance for their redemption and reconciliation with God.

So, if the real purpose of punishment is to prevent future crime, then what better sentence than undisputed life in prison, especially for one who is working to prevent his very crime?

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