Lookie lookie, there goes Tookie
The founder of the L.A. gang the Crips, Tookie Williams, is scheduled to be executed on December 13 for the 1979 murders of four people. California's supreme court refused to stop the execution. His only chance now is a federal intervention or Gov. Schwarzenegger, who admired Tookie's bodybuilding skills in the late '70s, granting clemency.
I got to reading about all this and found that Virginia's governor spared the life of the potential 1,000th execution since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. The next potential 1,000th execution is set for tomorrow in North Carolina. And now that governor is deciding if he wants to be the one whose state oversaw the 'landmark' 1,000th execution.
Capital punishment was suspended in the United States in 1967 and abolished in the Supreme Court in 1972. In 1976 it was reinstated.
With Tookie, who has written children's books advocating non-violence and worked toward peace between gangs, having a well-publicized call for clemency and a looming 1,000th execution, I wonder if this could help re-abolish capital punishment in our country.
Probably not, but I like the idea that an execution date nears and a governor grants clemency, possibly holds a moratorium on the death penalty, as in Illinois, then abolishes it- state by state. Eventually all states and the federal government wise up like the majority of Europe and North and South America, Australia and other industrialized nations and make the practice illegal.
I found this interesting.
In practice, no one has been executed for a crime other than murder or conspiracy to murder since 1964, when James Coburn was executed for robbery in Alabama on September 4. All death row inmates in 2002 were convicted of murder. The last time someone executed solely for other crimes were:
* Rape - Ronald Wolfe on May 8, 1964 in Missouri.
* Criminal assault - Rudolph Wright on January 11, 1962 in California
* Kidnapping - Billy Monk on November 21, 1960 in California
* Espionage - Ethel and Julius Rosenberg on June 19, 1953 in New York (Federal execution)
* Burglary - Frank Bass on August 8, 1941 in Alabama
* Arson - George Hughes, George Smith, Asbury Hughes on August 1, 1884 in Alabama
* "Guerrilla Activity" - Champ Ferguson on October 21, 1865 in Tennessee
* Piracy - Nathaniel Gordon on 21 February 1862 in New York (Federal execution)
* Treason - John Conn in 1862 in Texas
* Slave revolt - Slaves named Caesar, Sam and Sanford on 19 October 1860 in Alabama
* Aiding a runaway slave - Starling Carlton in 1859 in South Carolina
* Theft - Slave named Jake on December 3, 1855 in Alabama
* Horse stealing - James Wilson and Fred Salkman on 28 November 1851 in California
* Forgery - 6 March 1840 in South Carolina
* Counterfeiting - Thomas Davis on 11 October 1822 in Alabama
* Sodomy/buggery/bestiality - Joseph Ross December 20, 1785 in Pennsylvania
* Concealing the birth/death of an infant - Hannah Piggen in 1785 in Massachusetts
* Witchcraft - Black person named Manuel on June 15, 1779 in (present-day) Illinois
This list is reassuring. While murder is a horrible offense, it should be the next/final crime added to the list to recognize that 'an eye for an eye' doesn't make sense.