The Value of a Man’s Life – SF Chronicle on Tookie Williams

leslie fulbright of sf chronicle has a great piece today on the stanley tookie williams case. unlike me or my former reader mike, ms fulbright does her homework and includes great facts and evidence both in support of a tookie clemency and against it.

i’d like to know where mike derives his statement that tookie’s books have only sold 313 copies. given that the books are now used as part of school curriculum in cities across the country, it’s hard to believe they’re all sharing such a small number. the chron says…

in the chicago public school district, 25 campuses with at-risk students have created a class using Williams’ autobiography as the curriculum…then more than 250 seventh and eight grade boys with life circumstances similar to Williams’ were picked…described as motivated and encouraging, use lesson plans based on Williams’ writings.

Williams’ "Tookie Speaks Out" series, aimed at elementary school children, uses street language…to tell his young readers that the power that came with being in a gang ended up hurting him.

ms fulbright also quotes diego garci who joined a gang at 9 and participated in drug deals, beatings and drive by shootings before he was shot at 18…

i was completely confused. i didnt know whether i should choose the right path. i read tookie’s books and it inspired me. i related to him. the books are different because it is the cofounder of the crips giving you a message. tookie caught my attention.

it makes pragmatic sense to stop killing people like tookie. first, it costs far more to kill a man than leave him in jail for life – appeals and death row. second, i dont believe it has ever been proven that the threat of capital punishment has served as a deterent to violent crime.

like torture, the real motivation is vengence; when horrible acts occur like senseless murders or terrorist acts like 9/11, a large number of people want to see the perpetrators punished. this is usually done in the name of promoting safety, but i have never seen this to be true.

if someone i loved was hurt or killed, i would likely also want vengence, and i too would need a more just society to save me from myself.

governor schwartzenager is set to consider the clemency case this thursday. there is a special screening of the film ‘redemption’ tonight hosted by danny glubber (5pm at the vic on 16th and mission in sf).

havent we learned from the the war in iraq that fighting killing with more killing won’t make the world a safer place?  are we more or less likely to experience terrorism after the war in iraq? will we be more or less likely to experience gang violence after we execute tookie?

in an effort to share multiple viewpoints, i will close with two opposing quotes from fellow san franciscans…

this society makes a lot of noise about rehabilitation, but does little to acknowledge or support those who have done the time, done the work, and become rehabilitated. Williams is doing good work from behind the bars of his cell; if he dies, the good work dies with him.

he is directly and indirectly responsible for numerous murders and escalating the drug and gang violoence throughout the country. i cant imagine that his good deeds in prison could ever equal the evil that he was responsible for before he got caught and convicted.

3 thoughts on “The Value of a Man’s Life – SF Chronicle on Tookie Williams

  1. Mark, to your question: “havent we learned from the the war in iraq that fighting killing with more killing won’t make the world a safer place? are we more or less likely to experience terrorism after the war in iraq?”
    Clearly, the answer is Yes we are safer. Look at the budding democracy in Iraq today. Isn’t it great!

  2. Please I would really appreciate to have a copy of the film ‘redemption’
    Thank you indeed

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