Sunday, December 04, 2005

Measuring a Man

Today's effort to raise awareness about the impending execution of Tookie Williams comes in the form of an article entitled MEASURE OF A MAN'S LIFE. The San Francisco Chronicle assigned reporter Leslie Fulbright to plead both sides of the Tookie Williams case. Leaving aside the past, on the surface it would appear that today the issue is dealt with fairly.

However, the effort put forth is anything but fair. To begin with the article is fully titled 'MEASURE OF A MAN’S LIFE Questions of redemption, atonement and clemency swirl as Stanley Tookie Williams’ execution date approaches as a criminal'. The emphasis on redempsion, atonement and clemency come close to endorsing those things for Tookie while avoiding wording such as cold-blooded killer, gang leader, terrorist, drug dealer and racist. Next, the word count on both articles shows an interesting enthusiasm for one side of the argument:

for Tookie article 2055 words
Death penalty for Tookie article 1236 words

Measure of a man's life? Depends on who is holding the yardstick.


Anonymous Smoking Jay said...

It is noteworthy that many advocating Tookie’s clemency grew up with books, newspapers and music that glorify cold-blooded killers, gang leaders, urban terrorists, drug dealers and racists. Also, I attribute the longer clemency article to Fog Index required for near-illiterate readers. Finally, writers usually ramble on when they are having trouble crafting a convincing argument.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On June 30, 1981, just two months after being sentenced, Williams was involved in a violent fight with another inmate. Williams was observed kneeling over the other inmate and striking him in the head with his closed fists.

When Williams was ordered to cease fighting, he ignored the order. Only after repeated orders to stop, did Williams stop his violence. (P. Exh. 6).

On January 26, 1982, Williams was ordered to lineup for his return to his cell. Williams refused the order and became hostile. The guard then explained the line-up procedure to Williams. Williams responded by saying "you'll get yours boy, I can do anything now because I know what the gunmen will do…one of these days I'll trick you boy." (P. Exh. 7).

On January 28, 1982, Williams had two separate instances where he threw chemical substances at guards. In one of these instances, Williams threw a chemical substance in the eyes and on the face of a guard. As a result of that assault, the guard suffered from chemical burns to these areas and had to be taken to the hospital where he received emergency care. (P. Exh. 8).

On January 29, 1982, Williams again attacked a guard by throwing a chemical substance on him. (P. Exh. 9).

On February 16, 1984, a guard saw Williams bending over another inmate and striking him with his closed fists. In an effort to stop the attack, the guard blew his whistle and drew his weapon. Williams, however, continued to fight. Only after a guard fired a warning shot, did Williams stop fighting. (P. Exh. 10).

On June 8, 1984, Williams was observed participating in inappropriate behavior with a female visitor. When the guard advised the female of the prison policies, Williams became verbally hostile and stated, "you are looking around too much and that's not your job. I have dusted many officers on the street, one more would not make any difference." (P. Exh. 11).

On July 4, 1986, Williams stepped between a guard and another inmate and began to beat up the inmate. The guard ordered Williams to stop but Williams continued with the assault. Eventually, after gun officers responded, Williams stopped the attack. (P. Exh. 12).

On October 10, 1988, Williams was involved in a fight that led to him being stabbed. Prison officials subsequently learned that this stabbing was done in retaliation for a September 22, 1988, stabbing of another inmate ordered by Crips leader Stanley Williams. (P. Exh. 13).

On October 19, 1988, Williams was placed in Administrative Segregation based on his association with the Crips street gang. (P. Exh. 13).

On December 24, 1991, Williams was involved in another fight with an inmate. Once again, despite being ordered to stop, Williams continued with the assault. Eventually, gun officers responded by firing a round near Williams. After the shot was fired, guards gained control over Williams. (P. Exh. 14).

On July 6, 1993, a large fight broke out in the shower area. Williams was one of the combatants. A guard ordered the inmates to stop, but the fight continued. After a warning shot was fired, the fighting stopped. Subsequently, a stabbing instrument ("shank") made of sharpened plastic was recovered from where the fight had occurred. (P. Exh. 15).

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's include criticizing the Catholic Church for defending Tookie's "right" to live, not just bash the media.

"At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI's top official for justice matters denounced the death penalty for going against redemption and human dignity.

"We know the death penalty doesn't resolve anything," Cardinal Renato Martino told AP Television News. "Even a criminal is worthy of respect because he is a human being. The death penalty is a negation of human dignity.""

1:25 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Time out anon. If we are to observe church/state separation, religious arguments must be left at the door--unless you wish to claim a special dispensation.

10:12 PM  

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