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Tilting at Windmills

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December 13, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

THE DEATH PENALTY....I'm basically with Max on the whole Tookie Williams/death penalty thing: I'm not opposed to the death penalty qua death penalty, but I long ago became convinced that it was impossible to administer fairly or reliably and thus should be abandoned. At the same time, if anyone does deserve the death penalty, Tookie Williams is surely it. Regardless of what he's done since, the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy.

Cory Maye, however, is a whole nother story. Radley Balko has the grim details here, and even though something about it continues to niggle at me, it hardly matters. Regardless of whether or not there's more here than meets the eye, there's not much doubt that Maye doesn't deserve to die. It's yet another example of how capriciously the death penalty is applied in the United States, and Maye's case is an almost perfect demonstration of the intersection of race, lousy representation, and likely police misconduct that are so often the hallmarks of capital cases.

Kevin Drum 1:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (253)

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Kevin attempts a triple-backflip fence sit! And he sticks it! The crowd goes nonplussed! The judges are giving him high marks, and the crowd are hating him. The liberal wingnutospwhere's leading milquetoast just can't please anybody!

Posted by: tbrosz on December 13, 2005 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

My, Tom, you're feeling awfully full of yourself these days, aren't you?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on December 13, 2005 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

I guess according to tbrosz there are only two positions one can have on the death penalty: I LOVE IT AND CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF SEEING PEOPLE FRY!!! -OR- IT IS THE MOST CRUEL,INHUMANE SOCIETAL ACT!!!. Anything more subtle or thoughtful is disregarded. BTW, tbrosz, I'm a vegetarian who supports hunting. Have fun trying to wrap your little brain around that.

Posted by: ecoboz on December 13, 2005 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

From the link:

Maye's attorney tells me that after the trial, she spoke with two jurors by phone. She learned from them that the consensus among jurors was that Maye was convicted for two reasons. The first is that though they initially liked her, Maye's lawyer, the jury soured on her when, in her closing arguments, she intimated that if the jury showed no mercy for Maye, God might neglect to bestow mercy on them when they meet him in heaven. They said the second reason May was convicted was that the jury felt he'd been spoiled by his mother and grandmother, and wasn't very respectful of elders and authority figures. The facts of the case barely entered the picture. Gotta' love the South.

That's something else. That's the impression I got about juries from things I've read about trials, though- they just let things like that sway them. Perhaps it's difficult for a lot of people to take in everything they hear from both sides at a trial and examine it all in a critical and detached manner.

Posted by: Swan on December 13, 2005 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure if I have mixed feelings about that or not.

Posted by: tbrosz on December 13, 2005 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with the sentiment at Mark Klinman's
Eevery death diminishes me, in Tookie's case not so much.
The question, ultimetly, is whether the taking of a defensless life (human) is immoral?
Does it bring us closer or further from the jungle?

Posted by: jk on December 13, 2005 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

This paragraph from Balko's post is just too depressing for words:

Maye's attorney tells me that after the trial, she spoke with two jurors by phone. She learned from them that the consensus among jurors was that Maye was convicted for two reasons. The first is that though they initially liked her, Maye's lawyer, the jury soured on her when, in her closing arguments, she intimated that if the jury showed no mercy for Maye, God might neglect to bestow mercy on them when they meet him in heaven. They said the second reason May was convicted was that the jury felt he'd been spoiled by his mother and grandmother, and wasn't very respectful of elders and authority figures. The facts of the case barely entered the picture. Gotta' love the South.

One can only hope this somehow doesn't get things right, because if they do, man, I just don't fucking know.

Yet, in reality, how COULD the man have been convicted, if the account of the facts of the actual event is within miles of the truth?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta' love the South.

from the post. b/c juries aren't biased anywhere else in the country. b/c jurors aren't swayed by emotions and fail to critically and dispassionately examine facts anywhere else in the country. nope only in the south are there any people unjustly imprisoned, or sentanced to death. and Illinois.

it was a good post, and a story worth telling. it would have been better without the regional stereotyping.

Posted by: e1 on December 13, 2005 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

If it's wrong for the individual to kill, it is wrong for the state to kill. The Government should not be in the death business, and certainly not in my name.

Posted by: TomStewart on December 13, 2005 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

I guess according to tbrosz there are only two positions one can have on the death penalty.

Conservatives don't do nuance, clearly.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll has a similiarly nuanced view (though in more general terms), which I recommend, at

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/12/12/DDGQIF5KV91.DTL&feed=rss.jcarroll

Posted by: Calton Bolick on December 13, 2005 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

One thing about the case that's just absurd is the notion that, even though the police, just by pure mistake, entered this guy's home, he happened by accident to be a murdering sort of person, who all the evil motives and did all the necessary premeditation right there on the spot.

I mean, how is such a case not laughed out of court?

Oh yeah, black guy kills white guy in the South.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

I read this blog often, but this is really very disturbing. When you discribe who Tookie _was_ in order to talk about our sympathy now, is tragic. It seems you believe that people are defined by the worst thing they have ever done. Which is a sad way to see the world, and perhaps oneself.

Posted by: TheScu on December 13, 2005 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

from MaxSpeak:Capital punishment should be shut down until a) the machinery can be refined so that mistakes are not made and penalties are apportioned fairly; and b) if the public still favors it. If it can't be refined, then it should be abolished.

i agree with this, except that i don't give a shit so much about b).

Posted by: e1 on December 13, 2005 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

So, Kevin, you don't believe a person's redemption and rehabilitation is sufficient reason to grant clemency, period, or you don't believe Tookie's r&r is genuine?

Posted by: bluebird on December 13, 2005 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Why would the death penalty be more just (or more harsh) than lifelong imprisonment? Knowing that you never will be able to walk again freely must be a horrible thought, worse than death in my opinion.

And even though the guy was a criminal and thug, his recent anti-gang actions have to be applauded. Why not further use this positive turn? What will be won when he's killed?

The death penalty is just about revenge. An eye for an eye.

Posted by: Daldianus on December 13, 2005 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

"At the same time, if anyone does deserve the death penalty, Tookie Williams is surely it."

I think I liked it better when liberal Democrats had the moral courage to say that a society is judged on how it treats its most detested, in much the same way that I preferred it when conservative Republicans were skeptical of social engineering at home and abroad, and defended the interests of individual liberty - even for hated minorities in wartime.

What would Harry S Truman say about today's Democratic Party, which has largely descended into some combination of technocracy and opportunism, with a touch of demagogy for good measure. There is the New Republic cautioning congressional Democrats to stay the course in their support for the Iraq war, whatever their conscience tells them, and regardless of their abnegation of constitutionally perscribed responsibilities in the lead up to that war. There is Hillary Clinton out peddling legislation - to ban violent video game sales to minors, and "intimidating" flag burning - she knows to be unconstitutional. Here are Democrats arguing that the state should not murder because it is wrong but because they might simply murder the "wrong" man. Where are the armies of compassion? These people who will say and do almost anything to earn and maintain the loyalties of suburban independents.

What would Robert A Taft - who stood against the Klan at a time they were not unpopular in Ohio, and who stood for the civil liberties of Japanese-Americans at a time they were nips - say about today's Republican Party? There is the Weekly Standard urging Mr. Bush to attack the Democrats' patriotism to regain his stride. There is Mr. Bush himself calling for a constitutional amendment to permanently marginalize 5% of the population. These people have nothing to sell America but demagogy and plutocracy. They will say and do almost anything to hold their hard right base.

Posted by: Blue Nomad on December 13, 2005 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Good on ya, Blue Nomad.

Posted by: bluebird on December 13, 2005 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

I think the truest argument against the death penalty is that imposing it damages the society that employs it. It is really nothing more than the extension of the moral argument against torture, which has the same effect.

The point here is that it's a mistake to think only of what the perpetrator "deserves", based on his crime. Yes, in a very real sense, a murderer may well "deserve" to be put to death himself. But also in a very real sense someone who tortures and maims an innocent deserves to be so tortured and maimed himself. But we understand that to do so by our government would degrade our society.

Why do people blanch at the idea of execution by firing squad, or by evisceration, even in cases in which the murderer himself performed his murder in equally horrible ways? Because it degrades us. We would feel we have stooped to the level of the murderer.

THAT is the argument, precisely, against the death penalty itself.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

You fell for the fake tbrosz, Kevin.

Posted by: ogmb on December 13, 2005 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

I thought I remember Kevin saying he opposed torture on moral grounds. I hope I'm mistaken in that recollection because this post doesn't seem to jibe with that.

Although Kevin comes off a bit Limbaugh like with this post, I don't think Blue Nomad is fair to pick points that he disagrees with from several different Dems to make the whole lot of them sound as though they are completely unprincipled. Some people actually believe certain things even if we don't agree with them.(Why is allowing parents the choice to limit what video games their children play so bad?)

I'm sure there are plenty of warts that Truman and Taft possessed. It's silly to praise only the good of past historic figures but dwell only on the negative of today's leaders. Hillary Clinton has spent most of her life advocating for children and women. She gets a lot of points in my book for that.

Posted by: gq on December 13, 2005 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

You shouldn't kill people.

Posted by: Realish on December 13, 2005 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

fromEugene RobinsonRe Tookie Williams:"Of course, there are hundreds of other men on death row who repent of their crimes and would appreciate a little executive clemency, but they don't have movie stars pleading their cases. Oh, and also lacking a publicity machine are the four people Williams was convicted of killing.

"For me, this case just reinforces my belief that there is no way the death penalty can be fairly applied. Among the ranks of the condemned are few genuinely innocent men -- although one is too many. But death row is brimming with genuinely repentant men, not because some divine revelation has hit them but simply because they have grown older."

i just thought this was another interesting take. maybe redemption does come to most men. maybe that't the best case to be made for life without parole (as long as it truly means without parole in cases like this.) personally, i think that the death penalty is just to hapazardly applied to be a legitimate punishment, though i can empathize with the desire for revenge that some people have. i don't know what i would want as punishment if someone killed my family. i know that i have heard of (and met) people i sincerely hoped never, ever got out of jail again. course, none of their crimes were considered death penalty offenses.

Posted by: e1 on December 13, 2005 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

check out my piece on the death penalty at:

http://voicesofreason.info

Posted by: j.s. on December 13, 2005 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm sure there are plenty of warts that Truman and Taft possessed."

When was the last time Hillary Clinton or any Democrat clocked more than 20,000 miles in a modest American car to investigate the dispensation of contracts in Iraq or the gulf states as Harry Truman did? When was the last time any Republican of note (in office) called for repealing the Patriot Act in full, as Robert A Taft defended wartime civil liberties?

See: you have me wrong. I didn't tell you what I thought of the war in Iraq, or any other issue, and to be sure I find the notion of life sentences in what is the most violent and inhumane prison system in the West more offensive than executions, but I do object to the notion that the state has the right to take any of its citizen's lives. War is another matter.

Today's Democrats really are the worst kind of craven. How to know it? In the case of Hillary Clinton, I would urge you to find the novelist Walter Kirn's great posts as guest blogger at Andrewsullivan.com. The reporters who have managed to get close to this woman almost universally come to the same conclusion, if not always in print than in private. She is a kind of characterological fiction, the creation of a small army of consultants and advisers. Like her husband before her, she has few principles, and fewer scruples. Nearly every public word is poll-tested, and suburb-approved. She is a monster.

As for the federal government doing the work of parents, we don't do that in America. You should know better.

Posted by: Blue Nomad on December 13, 2005 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

For the record, I wasn't intending to pick on Kevin. He is one of the smartest, and most decent people in the blogosphere, and - you know - not the Democratic elites. If he decides to run for senate or president though things could change...

Posted by: Blue Nomad on December 13, 2005 at 3:29 AM | PERMALINK

As for the federal government doing the work of parents, we don't do that in America. You should know better.

Why can't the federal government make it easier for parents to do their "work"? It's absurd to think that that is somehow incompatible with even a libertarian philosophy. I feel the same about gun control. I'm not opposed to people owning guns, but see no problem with making it more difficult to obtain a firearm.

I personally know a reporter who has interacted with Hillary Clinton. That person does not share the same sentiment that you claim all reporters have of her. Of course, we all know Sully is the paragon of unbiased information. I also know some Democratic officials personally. Perhaps you should meet a few. You probably wouldn't make such blatant generalizations. Of course that you can judge Hillary Clinton without having known her personally is very telling. That you didn't bother to address the issue I brought up previously is also telling.

Posted by: gq on December 13, 2005 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

One of the things that always bugs me about death penalty arguements, especially when they are centered around a 'case in point' such as tonight's, is the idea that Tookie Williams is a better candidate for receiving death because he has not admitted his crimes and "shown remorse".

Well, there's two possible reasons for him to not have admitted his crimes and shown remorse. One, he's as asshole who feels no remorse. Or two, he's not admitting the crimes because he's actually innocent!

I know next to nothing about Tookie Wilson, or the evidence against him. I am not arguing his guilt or innocence. I'm saying that the lack of a confession makes me very hesitant about a death sentence; knowing, really knowing, that the guy is guilty makes me more likely to go along with capital punishment in a given case (leaving aside the very large question of coerced confessions).

But the public as a whole seems to view it exactly opposite to me. The lack of a confession (and lack of certainty of guilt) is reason to withhold clemency and administer death, but confession and remorse (and their certainty of guilt) is mitigation, and increases one's chances for clemency.

Joseph Heller to the white curtesy phone. Paging Mr. Joseph Heller!

Posted by: Robert Earle on December 13, 2005 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Why can't the federal government make it easier for parents to do their "work"?"

Hillary Clinton knows full well that virtually all of these laws at the state level brought before our high courts have been struck down as unconstitutional. The legislation put forward by Clinton and Lieberman is along the same lines as laws already struck down - even more robust in certain respects - which is another way of saying it is a demagogic and craven stunt to win the hearts and minds of the suburbs.

When offered the opportunity to more than double the size of the United States, Thomas Jefferson knew how popular it would be, but deliberated on the decision carefully. He was concerned of its impact on the rights of states, and setting a precedent of exercising powers not spitulated in the constitution.

Our politics has degenerated so far from essential concerns about liberty, humanity, and constitutionality over the past generation that lawmakers today propose legislation they know to be contrary to basic American values, and the constitution itself simply to win over wavering centrists, or in the case of Republicans core conservative voters.

It is appalling, and deserves the strongest condemndation. There will be no rhetorical mercy on my part for this generation of elites; they are a disgrace, Republians and Democrats alike.

Mr. Drum however deserves much better. He is smarter and nicer than me.

Posted by: Blue Nomad on December 13, 2005 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

While I was typing (and occasionally mis-typing) Mr. Williams was executed. I sure hope all the judges were right, and he really was guilty. Because if not, that's a mistake with no remedy.

Posted by: Robert Earle on December 13, 2005 at 3:53 AM | PERMALINK

Typical nonsense from Kevin and anyone who can't see through it is blind.

GHe's not against the death penalty, in a perfect world he'd be for it.

Of course, in THAT world he wouldn't need it.

Maybe we can have reporters for major papers and magazines decide who needs to fry, they, after all, represent the current state of human perfection.

Kevin? It can't be made "perfect". Therefore, you ought to be against it on its face.

Taking life is a sickness. Period.

Posted by: sixteenwords on December 13, 2005 at 4:06 AM | PERMALINK

Calton Bolick Conservatives don't do nuance, clearly.

There isn't a whole lot of nuance in "dead body"

Posted by: sixteenwords on December 13, 2005 at 4:07 AM | PERMALINK

A civilized country should not have the death penalty.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on December 13, 2005 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

PS -- That was a really crappy Fake Tbrosz.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on December 13, 2005 at 4:29 AM | PERMALINK

I have a slightly different take on this. I worked inner-city trauma during the height of the crack wars. Whether Mr. Williams killed those four people or not, he created an organization that killed and ruined the lives of literally thousands of people. Mothers whose children were gunned down senselessly 20 years ago are still grieving.

I'm as liberal as they come. I pine for that perfect world that would render the death penalty moot, but that ain't where we live.

And I have seen what they do to one another up close and personal, to the point of washing brain matter off my shoes after a trauma arrived in my ER.

Given the ripple effect of his actions, I dunno if there is enough redemption in the world to offset the choices Tookie made early in his life.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 13, 2005 at 4:37 AM | PERMALINK

Look, Jon Carroll in the San Francisco Chronicle and Father Gerald D. Coleman in Catholic San Francisco both got it right, and said essentially the same thing (well, Carroll is not one to talk about all of us being images of God, but otherwise . . .) The repulsive thing about the anti-Tookie camp was the lust to kill. The repulsive thing about the pro-Tookie camp was the idea that he was somehow "redeemed" and important and articulate and useful and therefore better than, y'know, all those other murderers on Death Row. The next in line at San Quentin is not gonna see all those stars coming out in protest. Because you need star quality to attract stars, and most people on Death Row haven't got that.

Me, I oppose the death penalty because I don't think we're in a position where we need it to protect other people, and there's really no other reason for it. But the idea of escaping death because you manage to convince people you're better class than your average murderer (which is what Williams and his supporters were trying to do) is worse. Show me the same celebrities turning out to protest every execution and I will be impressed. As it is, they argued for clemency not because Williams was a human being, but because he was a special, valuable, useful human being. I do hope I'm not the only person here who finds that distinction loathsome.

Posted by: waterfowl on December 13, 2005 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

I notice that a lot of people on this thread speak of economic or other practical reasons against the death penalty.

These are shallow arguments.

The true arguments for or against it should be based in the principles of morality and the laws of logic. I think a lot of the posters are against the death penalty on principle, but reduce themselves to economic arguments because they seem more persuasive. Perhaps they are . . . but a preference for persuasivity does not defeat the overriding rules of ethics.

I believe that the death penalty is wrong for many reasons -- economics, racism, difficulties included. But the strongest arguments are those of Truth.

How can we say that murder is so abhorrent that we must murder?
How can we relegate ourselves to the "league of ordinary nations?"

Certainly there are other reasons . . . but the best reasons lie in right and wrong.

Posted by: NG on December 13, 2005 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

I am not against the death penalty in principle. I am not a pacifist. (If the state is not supposed to kill anybody, then the cops get no guns, then there's no law enforcement (and no army), and it's time for either anarchy or libertarianism.) I am against it on grounds of inability to correct error. (I would be against stoning on groundless of it being pointless sadism. But I can hardly kick against sadism when I'm not willing to get rid of prisons.)

Kevin:Cory Maye, however, is a whole nother story. Radley Balko has the grim details here, and even though something about it continues to niggle at me, it hardly matters.

It's almost exactly the same legal circumstances as Waco and Ruby Ridge? Except that Maye is black? And didn't commit a capital crime (manslaughter or murder two at worst) except they made the killing of a cop a capital crime?

ash
['Or is it because you find the story doubtful?']

Posted by: ash on December 13, 2005 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, I didn't mean to imply that Kevin was guilty of the sins of the Democratic elites either (as in cravenness). I'll stop apologizing now.

Posted by: Blue Nomad on December 13, 2005 at 5:12 AM | PERMALINK

One thing often missing from the death penalty discussion is the cruelty of locking people up and throwing away the key, merely because you cannot or will not handle the other two options, to forgive or to draw the logical consequence.

So how about this: No capital punishment, but people with a life sentence will once a year be presented with a gun (or other Weapon of Self Destruction) and the opportunity to end their own life.
No blood on the hands of the judicial system and a final chance for a person, abolished by society in every practical meaning of the word, to regain control of his/her own life. And as a bonus, meaningful closure without actual revenge for at least some of those left behind by the convicts deed(s).

Posted by: OmniDane on December 13, 2005 at 5:49 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who claims to be a Christian should remember that Christ himself was the victim of the death penalty wrongly administered. There should be a lesson in that.

One of my favorite lines from Lord of the Rings is when Gandalf tells Frodo - "There are many that die that deserve to live, and many who live who deserve to die."

Which was Tookie???

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on December 13, 2005 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'm as liberal as they come. I pine for that perfect world that would render the death penalty moot, but that ain't where we live. - Global Citizen

I pine for that perfect world where a system of justice could be so absolutely certain of the guilt of those it convicts that it could sentence them to death without fear that it would later turn out they'd caught the wrong guy. But that ain't where we live either.

In the case of someone like Tookie, there's no doubt that he is who he is and he did what he did. But we don't have separate categories in our judicial system for "guilty" and "really, most definitely, we saw him do it on national TV guilty". Until we decide to go reverse-Scottish and invent such a super-guilty category, we can't keep the death penalty only for people like Tookie without risking executing innocent people who happen to have dark complexions and bad lawyers.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

One of my favorite lines from Lord of the Rings is when Gandalf tells Frodo - "There are many that die that deserve to live, and many who live who deserve to die." Which was Tookie???

Huh? What about one of the many that died that deserved to die?

One of my favorite lines has always been W.H. Auden's critique in the late '40s of one of his own poems from the '30s, which ended with the line "We must love one another or die." "We will die anyway," he pointed out.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 6:00 AM | PERMALINK

What bothers me about Tookie is that not just that he had a prison conversion; eh, sure, move along. But the man did a lot of outreach based on that. He associated his name with a lot of anti-gang and anti-drug work, some of it well-respected.

And now we're going to kill him. No matter how reprehensible his actions (and I assure you I personally find his actions prior to reformation to be amongst the most reprehensible humans are capable of), that's a bad message to be sending. All the kids that Tookie was talking to, talking about how gangs and drugs will ruin your life, well, they'll take whatever message away from this they please. And that message is likely to be, 'The law is arbitrary and justice isn't part of what the US legal system worries about.'

If the death penalty is about sending a message to other potential offenders, well, there you go.

Posted by: NBarnes on December 13, 2005 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and, isn't there a middle ground between 'Kill him' and 'He's reformed, let him go'? I think the man should obviously spend the rest of his life in jail. But if his work, his continuing efforts, are praiseworthy, why are we still killing him? It's not just unuseful from a pragmatic standpoint, there's a moral issue there, too. It's not a matter of his reform buying freedom, it's a matter of it buying the difference between life in prison with no parole and death. Are we really planning on saying that no amount of good works can sate our bloodlust?

Posted by: NBarnes on December 13, 2005 at 6:07 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Your death penalty post sounds too well crafted by half, like you're trying to sound tough on crime but still be "liberal."

You can be tough on crime and think the death penalty is so capriciously applied nationwide as to be unfair. 150 death row exonerations (and growing) show that "convicting" people of capital crimes is a flawed process.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on December 13, 2005 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

NBarnes,

It's not a matter of his reform buying freedom, it's a matter of it buying the difference between life in prison with no parole and death. Are we really planning on saying that no amount of good works can sate our bloodlust?

Why, yes. But that's not the right way to put it. If it's right to kill someone for doing murder, it's right whether they've repented or not. (Williams, of course, didn't repent, except for co-founding the Crips; he maintained to the last that he didn't do the actual four murders he was convicted of, though no one seems to think he's innocent of all of them.) If there is to be clemency, it shouldn't rest on what the tally is in "good works."

I really, really don't like the idea of death sentences being commuted on the basis of a prisoner's demeanor or elocutionary skills or what have you. I don't like the idea of death sentences at all, as I've said, but sparing the well-spoken and calm while killing off the sullen and irascible is unjust. A human life is a human life, and valuable as such.

Posted by: waterfowl on December 13, 2005 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

Back in the days when I saw things in black and white, much like the dogs so drawn to Republicanism, I believed in the death penalty. As I matured into someone wanting to see things as the really are, the Von Ranke pallet of every color, I realized that the death penalty is actally about people pretending to be gods. Irrevocable punishment brings about injustice as a natural course of things. It also completely erases a person's chance for redemption and disregards that there are places in this country where is immersed in violence from the time they shed the placenta. I will not advocate for the death of anyone, especially strangers. When one looks at the context of sheer misery wrought by the acts of lifetime or a passionate moment as the standard then realizes Ken Lay and others walk free, it is considerable irony indeed that the poor die by the hands of justice and the rich mete it out. Rough sex-extenuating. Rough streets, not so much. There is the occasional BTK killer that must be studied and harrassed for a lifetime, but there are also the innocents who die the worst death of all--that of an anonymous martyr.

Posted by: Sparko on December 13, 2005 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

"there's not much doubt that Maye doesn't deserve to die"

Right, because, you're God, and you know that for sure.

Posted by: Graham on December 13, 2005 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

Sheesh.

Once more:

Torture: Wrong
Death Penalty: Wrong
Vacillating on moral questions: Wrong

Posted by: Monoglot on December 13, 2005 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

Herein lies the rub, Mr. Sanctimonious, er, I mean Graham: If there is a shred of doubt, you simply don't commit the irriversible. That is just elementary. But Grandma always wondered why they called it "common sense" when it's so god-damned rare...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 13, 2005 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

This mad rush by American religious conservatives to wipe out the notion of redemption is just one of the many moral and logical conflicts they find themselves in. What a whacked out bunch of people, and California's governor cowers before them.

Posted by: dennisS on December 13, 2005 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

"There are many that die that deserve to live, and many who live who deserve to die."

The rest of the Tolkein quote, its main point, went on to the effect: If you can not give life to those who deserve it, then do not be quick to give death to those who deserve it.

Posted by: m on December 13, 2005 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

The same people who discount Tookie's redemption seem to be perfectly willing to forgive GW Bush's past 'youthful indiscretions'.

Not saying that Tookie should have been released so he could run for Governator, but surely allowing an avowedly bad character to become President has had even worse effects.

Posted by: gs on December 13, 2005 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

I am generally against the death penalty because of the risks involved with executing the innocent. You can't take a do-over with the death penalty. That said, in specific cases where there is no doubt of guilt -- like Mr. Williams or the man who killed Carlie Brucia -- executing an innocent person isn't an issue. In those cases, I feel sympathy for the victims and their families, not the killer. If you don't want to get executed then don't kill someone.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

"The same people who discount Tookie's redemption seem to be perfectly willing to forgive GW Bush's past 'youthful indiscretions'."

What! Whatever Bush has done wrong -- and he has done plenty wrong -- he didn't personally kill people. It doesn't matter to me if Williams genuinely repented or not. He killed people and for that he was punished.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

Eichmann didn't personally kill anyone either.
What's your point?

Posted by: kenga on December 13, 2005 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

Also curious if you would support executing GIs that have killed unarmed pregnant women?

Posted by: kenga on December 13, 2005 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Capital Punishment is like nuclear power: if it could administered/run without error, it'd be OK, but there are these pesky human fallibilities...and the download of a failure is ghastly.
BTW, I work at a left-leaning small college and a student recently put up a detailed set of photographs of Bhopal and the aftermath, the people, the continuing sicknesses, the place, the plant, the hazardous material left everywhere...the wonders of captialism (keep those dividends coming!).

Posted by: Stewart Dean on December 13, 2005 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Regardless of what he's done since, the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy.

It's not a question of 'sympathy' for Williams; it's about sympathy for oneself. See, the State of California killed Williams, and not the bureaucratic entity. He was killed in the name of every Californian.

The sign of a mature society is its capacity to look plain at the worst of the worst and still say that it's not for the state to render death. Execution turns the state into Harvey Keitel from 'Pulp Fiction', cleaning up a mess that would otherwise disturb it.

Whatever Bush has done wrong -- and he has done plenty wrong -- he didn't personally kill people.

I think Albert Camus said it best:

"An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated, can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."

Posted by: ahem on December 13, 2005 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

What are you mentioning Eichmann for? The point isn't that Bush didn't kill anyone, the point is that Williams did! You forgive Bush (or anyone) for minor indiscretions that may or may not have been illegal then move on. Williams killed someone, and the organization he founded has been responsible for hundreds of deaths. Thus, he was punished.

You can't compare Bush's 'youthful indiscretions' with Williams' murders.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure who Kenga was talking to in his question about GIs killing women. My answer is that if there is no doubt of guilt and the act was one of murder then yes I support the death penalty for those GIs. I think an example would be My Lai.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Even if Williams deserves to die, it may not be in our national self-interest to kill him. We've got this guy in prison writing books we like to see in circulation.

If we kill him, the relatives of the victims will feel a lot better, but we won't have him writing those books. I suppose it would "send a message" to people considering murder about what might happen to them 25 years later.

If we don't kill him, the relatives of the victims feel bad, and the wingnuts go ballistic, but we still have him writing those books.

On the whole, I think we would have been better off not to kill him.

Posted by: anandine on December 13, 2005 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Execution turns the state into Harvey Keitel from 'Pulp Fiction', cleaning up a mess that would otherwise disturb it.

Let me clarify that, especially for the libertarians out there: you want the Second Amendment to serve as justification for your personal armory, you get Tookie Williams. And no, sorry, you can't just kill him and wash your hands.

Posted by: ahem on December 13, 2005 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Williams killed someone, and the organization he founded has been responsible for hundreds of deaths. Thus, he was punished.

'Thus'? You've put a fat load of weight on a very brittle 'thus'.

Posted by: ahem on December 13, 2005 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

"'Thus'? You've put a fat load of weight on a very brittle 'thus'."

Not sure what your point is. However, whether Williams truly repented, he is a murderer and created an organization that breeds murderers. Whatever the purpose of the death penalty I feel little sympathy for a man who murdered several people and helped cause the death of others. He outlived his victims by some 20-30 years. Even if he was truly sorry for what he did it doesn't change the fact that he took the lives of others.

For the most part I agree that the death penalty should be banned. However, it hasn't yet. Don't turn Williams into something other than what he was.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

A couple questions from an old HS debater:

To what problem is the death penalty a solution?
And what makes the death penalty the solution, not just a solution, to that problem.

Assuming that state action 'just because' is per se undesirable, of course..


Posted by: Davis X. Machina on December 13, 2005 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

In all likelihood the death penalty only accomplishes 2 things: it probably gives the victim's families a sense of justice; and it might save the taxpayers some money. I doubt it acts as a deterrence, mainly because it is administered so inconsistently and the appeals process takes forever. If it were administered much quicker and more often it would be more of a deterrent. I don't advocate this step because then we make more mistakes.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Georgia,

What if Tookie Williams actually did repent of his past deeds and was trying to amends for what he'd done? Or do you not believe that a person can be rehabilitated?

Posted by: phleabo on December 13, 2005 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

So what are the odds that the nice liberals here don't want to talk about Maye because he, instead of doing something merely morally questionable like murder, committed the sin of defending his home w/ a privately owned firearm? Is shooting someone OK as long as you get to associate guns w/ criminals?

Isn't the Maye case the bigger miscarriage of justice?

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

After watching "The Thin Blue Line" (Erroll Morris), any doubts I had about eliminating the death penalty were erased. Near the end of the film, after the Supreme Court granted a new trial and the actual killer had admitted that he killed the cop, the prosecutor was still defending his actions. Had Adams been executed, he would have felt no compunction about the fact he made a mistake and saw an innocent man condemned to death.

There is no middle ground here. If you believe Tookie got what he deserved, then let's allow court TV to have a second station where, first, they show a summary of the trial and then they show the sentence being carried out. If it's acceptable, it ought to be on TV. Had TV been around in, say, London of the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries, BBC would have broadcast the hangings instead of having some of the thousands who gathered to see it stand way in the back and not have a good view.

Posted by: TJM on December 13, 2005 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

As long as Williams doesn't even confess to what there seems little debate he did, clemency was never much of an option, and I have a hard time feelings sympathy.

Posted by: Chris O. on December 13, 2005 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

For awhile, these other deaths help us to forget ours.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on December 13, 2005 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Scott -

We liberals aren't discussing the Maye case because the moment we do, you conservatives will turn into a lynch mob. Admit it, part of you wants to fry him because he's an uppity negro that shot a white cop. We're just working to keep the conservative support he has alive; the moment you guys see that the left supports something, you'll turn against it. Because fundamentally, you're selfish evil cocksuckers.

Posted by: phleabo on December 13, 2005 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

If the state is not supposed to kill anybody, then the cops get no guns, then there's no law enforcement (and no army)

Do you see no difference between firing a gun at a target that is capable of harming others, ideally to INCAPACITATE, and killing a person that is helpless and no threat to anyone at all?

I really don't see how people can oppose torture on moral grounds but support the notion of a death penalty. How can you inflict death upon a helpless, harmless living being in your control?

The more you hate the culprit, the less you love the victim.

Posted by: mithimithi on December 13, 2005 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Scott, maybe the "nice liberals" aren't discussing Maye as much as you'd like because it's so obvious a miscarriage of justice that there's really nothing to argue about. What's really pathetic is the right-wingers who are using the case to bash liberals even though the Maye travesty was directly brought about by the kinds of people conservatives tend to vote for, and the types of attitudes conservatives typically hold (not even counting the racism), such as "The police are always right, even when they're not"--unless you believe the justice system in Mississippi is overrun by liberals.

Posted by: JK on December 13, 2005 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

I think he was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, which is one point in his favor;

Even without that, he had redeemed himself, in my opinion, and it was an uncivilized act to execute someone working harder to stop gangs than most of us, and than most of the juvenile crime bureaucracy.

Posted by: Gerry on December 13, 2005 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you, m, for finishing the Tolkien quotation that I inadvertently truncated.

Here is perhaps the best quote ever, for those who see capital punishment as "revenge for the victims" -

An eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind.
- Gandhi

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on December 13, 2005 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Death affects the survivors most. The state is really punishing Williams' family and friends and supporters most.

Death is quick, but grief lingers amongst the innocent.

Posted by: SatanistForBush on December 13, 2005 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

>Do you see no difference between firing a gun at a target that is capable of harming others, ideally to INCAPACITATE, and killing a person that is helpless and no threat to anyone at all?

You've been watching too many movies. There are very, very few marksmen so good that they can, say, shoot out the knees from under a moving, aggressive target. The general rule when firing a gun is that you shoot to kill. If you happen to incapacitate, that's fine too, but it is not your purpose. As for harmless- there is some indication that Williams continued to play some role in the gang he founded from in prison, and he certainly didn't do much to alleviate those doubts- like say, by cooperating with law enforcement.

So, sorry, Tookie. You live like a thug, you die like a thug. He got a better death than any of his victims did, and a lot longer life. And I'm sure at the end he felt good about not being a "snitch".

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who keeps thinking Stanley Tucci when the newscaster says "Stanley 'Tookie' Williams"? (Yes, I know "Tucci" has a "ch" sound.)

Posted by: KCinDC on December 13, 2005 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin. Thanks for letting us know who should live and who should die. I suggest we let Kevin be the sole arbiter of life and death in this country.

Of all the bs posts you have ever posted, this one contains the most bs.

The question is a simple one: do you wish to give your government the power to end life in the name of its citizenry? If yes, you stand with those that cheered the executioner on as he ended Williams life. If no, you are against the death penalty,

Basing your decision on individual cases is silly. Every case is different. Should we base our laws on mass murderers or small time crooks? Or should base our laws on the basic morality of its citizens. I believe we have, in fact, based the death penalty law on the moral standing of this nation -- after all, any nation that would lie its way into war, would attack a nation that did not first attack us, is an immoral nation. Having the death penalty only reinforces that status.

And the fact that Kevin Drum is in favor of the death penalty and is so frickin' sure Williams should be dead only illuminates the moral character of the person running this blog. Kevin Drum, I hope your thirst for blood was satisfied last night; for me, I was sickened to think that my government, in cold blood, and with malice of forethought, ended the life of one of its citizens.

Posted by: Dicksknee on December 13, 2005 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Scott, maybe the "nice liberals" aren't discussing Maye as much as you'd like because it's so obvious a miscarriage of justice that there's really nothing to argue about.

Um, isn't there something to do, you know, like raise the roof? Complain? Since when do liberals go silent because they're so right there's "nothing to argue about", but they aren't getting what they want?

We're just working to keep the conservative support he has alive; the moment you guys see that the left supports something, you'll turn against it. Because fundamentally, you're selfish evil cocksuckers.

If your goal is to oppose the death penalty, a case that generates more conservative and moderate sympathy would be a better one to make an issue of, unless conservative objections somehow pollute the moral purity of this example of a miscarriage of justice.

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

the cory maye case has nothing to do with the morality of the death penalty. this is judicial murder, pure and simple.

Posted by: JR on December 13, 2005 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

It's really not limited to the South. I've been following these two cases in detail for the last several years:

Marty Tankleff (NY): www.FreeMarty.org
Jimmy Dennis (PA): www.JimmyDennis.net

And PA in particular has had many wrongful convictions.

Posted by: JeffB on December 13, 2005 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

MJ Memphis, note that I said 'ideally to incapacitate'.

As for continuing involvement in gang-related business, there are certainly ways to end that besides death, aren't there?

Posted by: mithimithi on December 13, 2005 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

So what are the odds that the nice liberals here don't want to talk about Maye because he, instead of doing something merely morally questionable like murder, committed the sin of defending his home w/ a privately owned firearm?

The same odds as George W. Bush riding the winner of the Kentucky Derby? Thanks for playing, Maye; you can resume masturbating to pictures of S&W .50s.

Posted by: ahem on December 13, 2005 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Ugh, need coffee. Aimed at Scott, obviously.

Had Maye not committed the sin of 'self-defense while black', he'd not be on death row.

Posted by: ahem on December 13, 2005 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for playing, Maye; you can resume masturbating to pictures of S&W .50s.

Um, Maye is the guy on death row despite being wrongly convicted - you know, the kind of person liberals usually care about? Did you even read the original post?

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

mithimithi,

Sure there are ways to keep people like Mr. Williams from continuing their criminal connections behind bars. I suspect, though, that the means to do so would be strenuously objected to by the same folks who are bemoaning Tookie's fate now.

I saw a suggestion elsewhere that I could support, with regards to death row inmates- abolish the death penalty, move to life imprisonment, *but* make the imprisonment much, much tougher. No outside contact (except, presumably, with a lawyer for appeals); no book deals; no interviews; no nothing. You get 3 meals, a cot, reading material, and all the time in the world, with absolutely no possibility of parole, and the knowledge that, barring a successful appeal, the only way you will leave prison is in a coffin. How does that sound?

On the redemption/rehabilitation defense- this would be a much stronger argument for Mr. Williams if he actually behaved like he was genuinely rehabilitated. If he had apologized for his crimes, worked with the authorities to help dismantle the criminal organization he helped establish, and otherwise behaved like a reformed man, he would have deserved clemency. Failing that, it seems reasonable to conclude that he was more interested in saving his skin than in genuinely making restitution for his crimes. That being the case, I can't be sorry that society cut that particular cancer out of itself.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

If "liberals" have been quiet about the Maye case, it's because, more than anything, not enough know about it. (Actually, Scott, I thought you were referring to the relatively few mentions of it on this thread.) It might have been mentioned first on conservative blogs, but I've seen it brought up more and more on liberal blogs recently. And before it's all over liberal legal-defense groups will probably play a role in it if they're not already (in all the mentions of this case, I haven't seen any details about possible appeals and who is involved), while the "cops and prosecutors are infallible" types will continue to seek Maye's death.

And I don't necessarily consider it a death-penalty issue: It would be as much a travesty if he got life in prison, or 30 years, or whatever.

And again, Scott, though you try to grab the moral high ground by criticizing the straw man of "liberals who don't care what is happening to Cory Maye," remember that it is the conservative mindset, as reflected in the Mississippi justice system (including the jury) that has put Maye in the fix he is in. What are you doing, Scott? Are you complaining, other than in an attempt to make ideological hay of it?

Posted by: JK on December 13, 2005 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Nearly nine years ago, my family's best friend and my elder son's godfather was savagely murdered in his home, by a crack head. The police caught him, and he is serving a 25 years to life sentence. If this had occured in, say Texas, it would have been a capital case (white victim, Black perp.; you do the math). Yet all of my friend's friends and family, and myself, would have begged to spare the life of the perp. As John McCain says about torture, it's not about him or them, it's about us.

Interesting how so many of the families of Tim McVeigh's victims felt so empty after his execution, and that a number of them converted to the anti-death penalty camp. Yup.

I choose to not take the Pontius Pilate stance on the death penalty. WWJD? Hard to imagine Jesus throwing the switch.

Posted by: Andrew MacGowan on December 13, 2005 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Glad Tookie's dead. He was the leader of a deadly gang who probably committed many more murders than we are privy to. I would bet that he ordered a great many more too.

Maye on the other hand...I agree under those circumstances he should not even be in jail let alone on death row. But in my humblest of opinions even if Maye WAS the subject of the warrant it is still understandable that he would have shot someone breaking into his house. I for one believe that there should be provisions for situations where it could be argued that the subject of a no knock warrant could have fired his weapon ignorant of the fact that it was a cop.
In Mayes case, daddy made sure Maye was convicted because it was his son who got shot. I won't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing if it were my kid that was killed.
As for racism/death penalty. I won't even dignify that with a response. Case by case people. Case by case.

Posted by: Lurker42 on December 13, 2005 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think the issue is whether the death of monster--Charles Manson, for example--is a loss our society, but whether the society is behaving monstrously in killing him.

Government has the right to defend itself, but it's hard to see how dragging a misbegotten killer like Williams from his cell and ceremoniously poisonously him has made us safer.

On the other hand, the execution in Singapore will probably have its intended effect. The government there doesn't want heroin in its country. Had I been planning to smuggle some there, I think by now I would have reconsidered.

Posted by: Steve High on December 13, 2005 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

As John McCain says about torture, it's not about him or them, it's about us.

That's exactly right.

Advocates of the death penalty really should ask themselves the question, why is it that we no longer hang murderers, or put them in front of a firing squad, or cut off their heads? Why do we feel obliged to be as "humane" as possible?

If the argument for capital punishment were entirely a matter of what the perpetrator deserves, why would not any of those fates be well deserved in cases of vicious murders?

You see, even the most adamant death penalty supporter gets that there would be something deeply wrong and degrading about our society reducing itself to that level of brutality in meting out punishment.

What they fail to acknowledge, simply, is what other civilized societies across the earth have come to recognize: the death penalty itself, no matter how "humanely" administered", is degrading and repulsive.

It does no good to put lipstick on that moral pig.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney--

You were told yesterday not to come back. You spammed the Howard Dean thread and now you think everything is OK?

Do you think you can get away with spamming a thread in order to shut down discussion and debate and not be called on it?

Guess what, Charlie? Your time in the sun has ended. No one cares what a blog thread spammer has to say--ask the Chinese spammers who hit the thread every day.

You are as irrelevant to any discussion as they are.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 13, 2005 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK
I am not against the death penalty in principle. I am not a pacifist. (If the state is not supposed to kill anybody, then the cops get no guns, then there's no law enforcement (and no army), and it's time for either anarchy or libertarianism.)

You can be against the death penalty in principle without being against law enforcement and military ability to use deadly force as needed; you can be against, for instance, the state engaging in killing of those subject to its authority other than in defense of others from imminent harm.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

And again, Scott, though you try to grab the moral high ground by criticizing the straw man of "liberals who don't care what is happening to Cory Maye," remember that it is the conservative mindset, as reflected in the Mississippi justice system (including the jury) that has put Maye in the fix he is in. What are you doing, Scott? Are you complaining, other than in an attempt to make ideological hay of it?

It reflect more of a govt mindset than a conservative one; in this particular case, it's local cops. I don't see many high-profile Dems coming out against the WOD, which was the ultimate cause of this type of no-knock raid.

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK
In all likelihood the death penalty only accomplishes 2 things: it probably gives the victim's families a sense of justice; and it might save the taxpayers some money.

Well, it certainly doesn't do the latter -- it is more expensive, in practice, than life imprisonment -- and I wouldn't want to try to argue that the latter is a justification for premeditated and deliberate killing.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

It is grammatically correct to be agnostic about the death penalty (as an aside).

Philosophically; if a few innocent people die every few years and if I consider this artifact to be fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme, then I am under no requirement for moral absolutes.

Posted by: Matt on December 13, 2005 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin-
You say that you do not oppose the death penalty per se, but only oppose it because it is impossible to administer it fairly. That sounds reasonable at first; however, other forms of punishment (imprisonment, etc) are also administered unfairly and inefficiently, but I presume you do not oppose them. So it must be something about the death penalty per se that you oppose. And to those who claim that since it is wrong for the individual to kill, therefore it is wrong for the state to kill, remember that it is also wrong for an individual to lock someone up in a cage or force a payment of money from him. So you must also believe that it is wrong for the state to imprison or fine people, or find a better argument.

Posted by: CEB on December 13, 2005 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with you a hundred percent. The death penalty is stupid. There are the issues of fairness certainty that you raised. There is also the issue of morals: why kill someone if you can keep him incarcarated without him hurting anyone else? What is the point of that? The only point I can think of is vengeance.

All that being said, If guilty, I don't see anything that makes Williams more deserving of clemency than anyone else. I find his personal story to be unconvincing.

One other thing: Does Snoop Dogg realize that by glorifying a life of drug use, alcohol, womanizing, misogyny, and violence, he has no credibility in speaking to issues of justice. It is ridiculous to see a man who poisons the culture with dehumanizing garbage talk as if he has a concern for justice. If he did, he would think about the lifestyle he glorifies in his music. I like his beats, but if your lyrics are always glorifying the negative, it ruins your crediblity when you try to speak about the positive.

Posted by: derek g on December 13, 2005 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

There's nothing wrong with the death penalty. But having a death penalty in a judicial system in which you get the outcome you can afford is simply cruel.

Not particularly unusual, but cruel.

So, fix the judicial system and expand the death penalty to include any repeat offender of a violent crime (and ANY violent crime committed while in prison) and I'll be a happy guy.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on December 13, 2005 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Where is the NRA? This is a perfect opportunity for the NRA to talk about how important it is to be able to defend your home and family with a gun.

Posted by: Mark on December 13, 2005 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, the execution in Singapore will probably have its intended effect.

As I understand it, there are signs posted in the airport in Bali with letter 3 feet high: Do not carry drugs into Indonesia! Drug use is illegal. Carrying or selling large amounts is punishable by imprisonment or death.

Australian kids are still smuggling in heroin and hash, getting caught, and doing time. Deterrence is limited by the rationality of the people being deterred - and by the presumptive effectiveness of those doing the deterring.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Thought Tolkien deserved a proper rendering of his on-point lines:

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends."

Posted by: Neil on December 13, 2005 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK
Even without that, he had redeemed himself, in my opinion, and it was an uncivilized act to execute someone working harder to stop gangs than most of us, and than most of the juvenile crime bureaucracy.

That's just because you think the government should be more concerned about solving problems than inflicting pain on bad people.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

So, you admit, Steve, that the death penalty CAN be an effective deterrent?

Of course it can be an effective deterent.

Want to cut down on jay-walking? Make it a capital offense. Of course, life in prison might work too.

Trouble is, when it comes the sorts of crimes for which capital punishment is actually employed, such as murder, the evidence suggests that it has on balance no deterent effect at all -- look at the studies.

Somehow murderers aren't a reflective sort who carefully weigh the differences between life in prison and execution before they perpetrate their act.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

So it must be something about the death penalty per se that you oppose.

As about a hundred posters have already noted, CEB, you genius, that "something" is that the death penalty is irrevocable and final, whereas the wrongfully imprisoned can be exonerated and released.

If I plant 100 grams of heroin in your carry-on as you enter the airport in New York, and you end up getting convicted, you'll land in jail, where you can work to overturn your conviction. If I plant 100 grams of heroin in your carry-on as you enter the airport in Singapore, you will end up dead, where you can rot in obscurity. Which do you find the better system of governance?

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

"If it's wrong for the individual to kill, it is wrong for the state to kill. The Government should not be in the death business, and certainly not in my name."

That's OK, they can do it in my name.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

"So, Kevin, you don't believe a person's redemption and rehabilitation is sufficient reason to grant clemency, period, or you don't believe Tookie's r&r is genuine?"

If he is innocent of the crimes he was convicted for, then why isn't he fighting along that line, instead of clemency? Sounds like he's trying to have it both way, get clemency without having to admit his crimes. Doesn't sound like he's rehabilitated at all.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe-
Of course I know that. My point was that Kevin seems to be denying this (i.e., that there is something objectionable about the death penalty per se) and trying to base his opposition to the death penalty on other grounds.

Posted by: CEB on December 13, 2005 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I recognize that on some level (or in some opinions) I might be a better or more civilized person if I opposed the death penaltybut I don't.

I have no problem whatsoever with the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crimes. And I mean the worst of the worst, where guilt is assured, release or rehabilitation is impossible, an mercy is unwarranted. Tookie sweeps the categories as far as I am concerned.

As a liberal, it is frustrating to no end to see a rally of support for a thug like Tookie. Why is this guy the poster-boy for clemency/anti-DP efforts? I'm sure here are dozens of death row inmates who actually deserve support and second looks at their cases.

Cory Maye is the perfect example.

Posted by: Mr Furious on December 13, 2005 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"As about a hundred posters have already noted, CEB, you genius, that "something" is that the death penalty is irrevocable and final, whereas the wrongfully imprisoned can be exonerated and released."

But you can't give back the time lost, that's also final.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

The NRA is normally not known for advocating shooting and killing police-officers

Handy Tips for Defending Your Home With Ordnance
(An NRA Primer)

1. When the door of your house is blown in, and a dark figure comes charging into your bedroom wielding a weapon, ASCERTAIN WHETHER OR NOT THE INTRUDER IS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

2. If the intruder does not respond, ask again! He/she may not have heard you. Only after you are quite sure that the intruder has no legal authority to invade your home should you open fire with your legally registered firearm.

3. Should the intruder by this time be in the process of disembowelling you or your loved ones, contact 911 as soon as possible.

4. The only true guarantee we Americans possess against government tyranny is the 2nd Amendment, because it is only the possession of firearms by the citizenry that deters government agents from invading our homes and running roughshod over our rights. However, should you use your firearms to prevent government agents from invading your home and running roughshod over your rights, be aware that you will be sentenced to death.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"As a liberal, it is frustrating to no end to see a rally of support for a thug like Tookie."

Don't you care what the world would think of us? How would our French allies react if we execute a potential Nobel Peace Prize recipient? That we execute a black man for racist reasons?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

We simply disagree on whether this case qualifies for self-defense or defense of others - the police said they did identify themselves.

The whole point of a nighttime raid is to catch someone asleep and unaware - screaming "Police!!" to someone while kicking down their door when they are asleep doesn't qualify as identifying yourself. Did they have time to show badges before Maye could react? Probably not. The govt chose a time specifically so that Maye wouldn't be able to react.

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

"Somehow murderers aren't a reflective sort who carefully weigh the differences between life in prison and execution before they perpetrate their act."

What's the point in keeping murderer, who isn't a reflective sort in prison forever?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

To be in favor of capital punishment you really need to be in favor of retributionMax and Kevin are honest about it. So why stop there? Why not state sanctioned torture? Of course, we already torture detainees, why not citizens in our prisons?

Why not legalize corporal punishment? Come to think of it, maybe Tookies life would have turned around if he had gotten a few state-sanctioned canings as a teenager. Theres a lot more justification for state-sanctioned corporal punishment than capital punishment, at least there's SOME element of deterrence, not just the killing of a prisoner for revenge.

Posted by: Spense on December 13, 2005 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

What's the point in keeping murderer, who isn't a reflective sort in prison forever?

1. So they can't go murder more people.

2. So they can be freed if it turns out they weren't actually guilty.

3. It's cheaper than killing them.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Why not state sanctioned torture?

I actually find this a good question. Why is four strokes with the cane considered barbaric, while locking someone up for a month is not? Clearly the only purposes of locking someone up for a month are retribution and deterrence - no one is going to be rehabilitated in a month. So why not just whack 'em with a cane a few times and save everyone some time? Is there some idea here that it is only an individual's freedom, not his physical well-being, that the state has a right to deprive him of? And why?

I'm not sure I have a position on this - I'm just curious. cmdicely, perhaps?

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

"I think Albert Camus said it best:

"An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated, can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.""

Actually, I think the Magna Carta said it best:

No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by legal judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.


Tookie got his fair shake, which was more than what he gave his victims.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

As a liberal, it is frustrating to no end to see a rally of support for a thug like Tookie. Why is this guy the poster-boy for clemency/anti-DP efforts?

Um, he's not. He's gotten the most attention recently because he was the next person scheduled to die, and people who are actually anti-death penalty oppose each and every application of that barbaric penalty.

I'm sure here are dozens of death row inmates who actually deserve support and second looks at their cases.

There are, perhaps, people on death row who don't deserve any criminal punishment at all, which is a problem which goes beyond (but reinforces) opposition to the death penalty per se, sure. And people are agitating on many cases on those grounds. But when an execution is immediately imminent, it naturally gets more media attention, and more focus from anti-death penalty activists -- both because of the immediacy and because of the ability to use the media attention it would gather anyway as a lever to draw attention to the broader issues.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The death penalty should be abolished because it is an unecessary act of killing, in terms of maximizing public safety. Current prison technology allows for incarceration with essentially zero chance of escape, and virtually zero contact with others, even guards, who may be harmed by the criminally violent. If one really wished to maximize public safety, one would favor extremely long sentences upon a predator's first violent offense, before they worked up the ladder to homicide. The elderly aren't usually violent, even if they were so when young, and very few convicted of homicide commit murder as their first violent offense. Segregating the criminally violent for many decades upon the first offense would be the surest way to greatly decrease the murder rate in this country.

If that sounds too harsh, well, if if one's primary concern is to protect the innocent, and one has only negligible concern for the liberty of people who are criminally violent, it really isn't that harsh at all. What's more harsh, locking up somebody upon their first aggravated assault for forty years, or allowing the the assaulter to be free in a year or less, resulting in an innocent person's murder? As to cost, if we weren't spending billions to futilely prevent people from intoxicating themselves with their chemical of choice, there would be plenty of money to keep the violent incarcerated until they were so old as to longer pose a threat.

That said, the killing of Tookie Williams is about as lamentable as the fact that Mussolini got strung up like a side of beef. The Maye conviction, to say nothing of his death sentence ,however, is likely an outrage. The best way to prevent these injustices is to improve the quality of defense that the accused receive. Again, a system which has the funds to fight a stupid drug war has the funds to ensure that the accused receive quality legal representation.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I think it is interesting that Governor Schwarzenegger, a man who appealed to the voters of California as being a changed man- one different from the racist, misogynistic, Hitler supporter he was as a young man- to win the seat of Govenor, is then allowed to judge someone else's level remorse and redemption.

Posted by: Girl on December 13, 2005 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Segregating the criminally violent for many decades upon the first offense would be the surest way to greatly decrease the murder rate in this country.

The surest way to greatly decrease the murder rate in this country would be to make handgun ownership illegal and ban movies and videogames which glorify lethal violence. But that has about as much chance of happening as I have of bedding Keira Knightley.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Hitler supporter

Oh give it a rest. I'm no fan of Arnold, but this is just ridiculous, and itself an implied xenophobic slur.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK
Clearly the only purposes of locking someone up for a month are retribution and deterrence - no one is going to be rehabilitated in a month.

I dunno. I've heard of people who claim to have been scared straight by a night in jail, clearly a month could be more effective. While that might be more "specific deterrence" than "rehabilitation", I'm not sure there is a meaningful difference -- either way, the target individuals propensity to commit crime has been reduced by the experience.

Aside from that, I think that there is, as you say, a lot better case to be made for moderate corporal punishment as legitimate than capital punishment, though there are problems with differing sensitivity and risk of disproportionate and unwarranted harm that come with many forms of notionally moderate corporal punishment that may militate against it (though, given the state of our prison system, one can hardly claim taht such risks do not exist there, too.)

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

>To be in favor of capital punishment you really need to be in favor of retributionMax and Kevin are honest about it. So why stop there? Why not state sanctioned torture? Of course, we already torture detainees, why not citizens in our prisons?

Actually, to be in favor of most any punishment at all, to some degree you need to be in favor of retribution. The purpose of legal punishment isn't strictly to protect society- it is also to punish the guilty, by definition. I mean, theoretically, a prison could be set up like a Four Seasons, with prisoners fed filet mignon and given all the booze and entertainment they want. No one would realistically argue for that (except maybe the prisoners themselves), even though they would be no more or less a threat to society than they are in the current prison system. Why not have the Four Seasons Penitentiary then? Well, because it's prison- you aren't supposed to enjoy it... because it is a form of retribution.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

"1. So they can't go murder more people."

They can plan murders while in plan, they can also kill deputies and other inmates.

"2. So they can be freed if it turns out they weren't actually guilty."

Actually, more effort is made for people on death row to prove their innocence than people serving life. So you are less likely to be "freed" if you were in jail for life.

3. It's cheaper than killing them.

Is it? Show me the facts.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

>The surest way to greatly decrease the murder rate in this country would be to make handgun ownership illegal and ban movies and videogames which glorify lethal violence.

Yes, let's return to those pristine days before the existence of handguns, violent movies, and video games, when the murder rate was, naturally, zero.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that one's opinion of the death penalty issue on whole is similar to one's opinion on torture. You're pretty much for it, or against it.

20 years ago, I was for the death penalty. I am now against it. Killing should be reserved for acts of self defense. As a supposed higher species, we show little spiritual evolution by condoning capital punihsment, IMO.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on December 13, 2005 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Why not have the Four Seasons Penitentiary then? Well, because it's prison- you aren't supposed to enjoy it... because it is a form of retribution.

Uh, how about the fact that such a sentence might not be a deterent, but instead an enticement?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The point of my post was that Arnold is where he is because he pleaded that people can change and that he is not the same man he was at 20. If that is the case, how can he be so sure that Tookie Williams is not capable of the same sort transformation?

Posted by: Girl on December 13, 2005 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

"The surest way to greatly decrease the murder rate in this country would be to make handgun ownership illegal and ban movies and videogames which glorify lethal violence. But that has about as much chance of happening as I have of bedding Keira Knightley."

But you can still kill people by running them over with your car. The surest way is of course to take away free thought.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Even if that's true, frankly0, Mr. Williams will never kill again.

And was he killing while he was in prison? Are you seriously going to maintain that the real reason we must execute murderers is that they may escape and kill again?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton has spent most of her life advocating for children and women. She gets a lot of points in my book for that.

Posted by: gq on December 13, 2005 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

OK, I'll give her 25 points for this. But I'm taking away 25 points for her pro-war stance. Please, no Hillary in 2008...

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on December 13, 2005 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"And was he killing while he was in prison? Are you seriously going to maintain that the real reason we must execute murderers is that they may escape and kill again?"

He was planning on killing the deputies and blowing up a prison bus so he can make his escape. He could have ordered killings while in prisons too. The real reason is it's a more severe form of punishment than merely imprisonment.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

>

You can claim Iranian mullahs and Kim Jong II on your side, Freedom Fighter. I'll gladly take the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Vaclav Havel and the vast majority of democratic countries on my side.

Posted by: Peter H on December 13, 2005 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

>It seems to me that one's opinion of the death penalty issue on whole is similar to one's opinion on torture. You're pretty much for it, or against it.

Nice smear. So, if you support putting brutal murderers to death, you must also support waterboarding or drawing and quartering. Thanks for reminding me why I am a Democrat (and vote accordingly) but will never identify as liberal.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

No one is deserving of the death penalty; we are not in any position to make such judgements. We can separate people from society for the safety of society, and try to rehabilitate them if possible, but to take their life is not acceptable.

If rehabilitation is impossible, then incarceration is acceptable to keep them from further harming others. But taking their life is not acceptable.

The focus of our justice system should be on removing offenders from society to keep it running smoothly, and then making the best attempt to give them the help they need to be welcomed back into society.

The focus should not be punishment. I've had enough of this culture of condemnation. It has to stop. People who make mistakes or commit crimes should not be condemned, they should be shown some mercy. People who "deserve" the death penalty do not. They should simply be disallowed to participate in society any further.

(For those of the Christian persuasion, it's what Jesus would do. He loved everyone and showed mercy at all times. We should do our best to follow his example. God even forgave Cain, the first murderer, and threatened sevenfold vengeance on any who would harm him.)

We should stop seeing punishments as deterrants and instead seek to reduce poverty and create more opportunities for the people most likely to commit crimes, so they will become less likely to commit crimes. An improved life is the best deterrant against criminal behavior.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, why are we talking about this when we have the Iraq war going on? I though we solved this whole culture of life thing back with that whole Terry Schiavo thing?

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

"You can claim Iranian mullahs and Kim Jong II on your side, Freedom Fighter. I'll gladly take the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Vaclav Havel and the vast majority of democratic countries on my side."

How about the United States?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

He was planning on killing the deputies and blowing up a prison bus so he can make his escape. He could have ordered killings while in prisons too. The real reason is it's a more severe form of punishment than merely imprisonment.

I'm sure that all kinds of inmates on death row plan all kinds of murderous things. How often have they succeeded?

And isn't death by torture an even more severe form of punishment? Why don't you support that, I'd like to know? What are you, soft on crime?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

>People who make mistakes or commit crimes should not be condemned,

Giving someone improper change is a mistake. Shooting a septagenarian at point blank range, shooting his elderly wife in the back from feet away, and blowing half the face off of their daughter is not a mistake. It is a crime, and it is a crime deserving of being put down like a rabid dog.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, let's return to those pristine days before the existence of handguns, violent movies, and video games, when the murder rate was, naturally, zero.

I live in a country with virtually no privately owned handguns, few violent movies, and very little access to violent videogames.

The murder rate is as close to zero as makes no difference. We leave our doors unlocked.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"The point of my post was that Arnold is where he is because he pleaded that people can change and that he is not the same man he was at 20. If that is the case, how can he be so sure that Tookie Williams is not capable of the same sort transformation?"

If he still refuses to admit when all evidence point to his guilt, and the fact that he still refuses to do a debrief, it shows his "transformation" is an act.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

>I live in a country with virtually no privately owned handguns, few violent movies, and very little access to violent videogames.

>The murder rate is as close to zero as makes no difference. We leave our doors unlocked.

Congratulations on your fortuitous location. Now try moving to Tookie's old stomping grounds. I'm sure his compatriots would enjoy hearing your enlightened views.

Incidentally, Japan also has a murder rate pretty darn near nothing, and the Japanese produce some of the most vile, violent games and movies in existence. Perhaps you are confusing correlation and causation?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

MJ Memphis:

Fair enough on your smear comment - I phrased it poorly. I meant to say that I have seen many posters, and talked with many others, who are against both.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on December 13, 2005 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Nice smear. So, if you support putting brutal murderers to death, you must also support waterboarding or drawing and quartering. Thanks for reminding me why I am a Democrat (and vote accordingly) but will never identify as liberal.

MJ Memphis, I'm not trying to be snarky, but on what grounds do you oppose torture but not the death penalty? Many of the detainees alleging torture at Guantanomo or Abu Ghraib were also brutal murderers or were planning to commit heinous acts of murder in the future. Of course, some of those detainees were innocent, but, then again, so are some of the convicts on Death Row in the United States.

To me, if you oppose inflicting physical and mental anguish on prisoners you should also oppose putting them to death. If anything, torture is far more likely to prevent future crimes than capital punishment.

Posted by: Peter on December 13, 2005 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

"I live in a country with virtually no privately owned handguns, few violent movies, and very little access to violent videogames.

The murder rate is as close to zero as makes no difference. We leave our doors unlocked."

I live in the US and where I live almost everyone owns some sort of firearms. The murder rate here is almost close to zero. So, maybe privately owned hand guns isn't the root cause.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

I am (like America) drawn to both sides of this argument.

I believe franklyO is correct. The death penalty has no deterrent effect at all. Surely there are studies to support this. As I recall my misspent youth, the big time criminals going to the "chair" were heros for my delinquent friends and I. Luckily I outgrew stealing hubcaps and became a better citizen thanks to my family, our pastor, and a judge who instead of sentencing me to jail sent me instead to the local recruiter.

However, I believe that families of murder victims do deserve justice in seeing the murderer get murdered (if they are so inclined).

On the other hand, the death penalty hurts American Justice because other countries refuse to extradite to America. There have been many well publicized cases of this where murderers are free and walking the streets of foreign lands because of our insistence on not ruling out execution.

But then again, there are some monsters among us who do not deserve to live.

Am I liberal? or conservative?? a fence-sitter maybe??? or just mushy-headed????

Posted by: Jim on December 13, 2005 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, Japan also has a murder rate pretty darn near nothing, and the Japanese produce some of the most vile, violent games and movies in existence. Perhaps you are confusing correlation and causation?

I think these are the sorts of arguments one makes when one doesn't want to actually do anything to address a problem. The US has a culture of violence. If one wants to change that, one has to start somewhere.

Incidentally, the Japan example is all the more convincing a demonstration of how effective the absence of handguns is at reducing the murder rate.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I live in the US and where I live almost everyone owns some sort of firearms. The murder rate here is almost close to zero.

Are you quite sure about that? Where do you live? What is the murder rate, and where do you draw that information from?

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Even if one is willing to deny the law abiding access to one of the most effective tools of self-defense, which I am not, trying to prevent millions of people from owning small, easily concealed, amd easily manufactured devices which they very much wish to own, is about as intelligent as trying to prevent millions of people from owning small amounts of various easily obtained chemicals that they wish to own, which is to say it isn't intelligent at all.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ugh, I see that Chuckles McFuckles is here, a man who would happily kill to save a blastocyst, then joke about a child killed in an auto accident.

Posted by: ahem on December 13, 2005 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Am I liberal? or conservative?? a fence-sitter maybe??? or just mushy-headed????

I go with #4. The chief argument one has to address in relation to the death penalty is the extremely fallible nature of the criminal justice system, which, like any large organization with its own internal perverse incentives, limited resources, and sometimes incompetent personnel (including jury members), not infrequently gets things wrong. You can't think about this question without asking whether or not it's okay if the state sometime kills innocent people.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Giving someone improper change is a mistake.

I said "or".

Shooting a septagenarian at point blank range, shooting his elderly wife in the back from feet away, and blowing half the face off of their daughter is not a mistake. It is a crime, and it is a crime deserving of being put down like a rabid dog.

Why? Incarceration would solve the same problem of removing the person from society, and acknowledge the potential for error in the criminal system, as well as the potential for change in human beings, and the righteousness of mercy in modern civilizations. Murdering them just puts you back in the stone age.

By the way, including gory, specific examples of imaginary or real crimes is not going to put fear in my heart and drive me to agree with your desire to take the lives of others. All it does is make me wonder about the details you omitted, such as the motives for these crimes and the police and trial work that led to apprehension and conviction of the suspects. You've removed the humanity of the suspects, probably on the assumption that the victims are more important. Unfortunately, your response is to simply create more victims.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

One of the big problems with going ahead and frying Tookie: aside from slight doubts over whether he did the murders, and his post-imprisonment good works, he wasn't going to be released, just commuted into life w/o payroll IIUC. Hence, that's still a serious punishment and is what he'd get in many states anyway - why not just go ahead and give the benefit of the doubt? Schwarzzie just wanted to look tough for the dextro-meanies.

Posted by: Neil' on December 13, 2005 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Peter,

The difference between Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo detainees and, say, Tookie is that the detainees have not been granted their fair trial and appeal, whereas Tookie, like most people who are eventually executed, has had years and years of appeals to establish with very, very high probability that he is guilty. I don't support torture in either case. However, I have no more trouble with executing a murderer than I do with putting down a vicious dog. I wouldn't torture the dog either, btw. And if the detainees at the military prisons are found guilty of murder (and no, killing soldiers of an enemy nation in wartime is not murder, IMO), then they should likewise be executed if that is the sentence decided by the appropriate legal authority.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, including gory, specific examples of imaginary or real crimes is not going to put fear in my heart and drive me to agree with your desire to take the lives of others.

But it may just get you a movie deal.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK
I think these are the sorts of arguments one makes when one doesn't want to actually do anything to address a problem. The US has a culture of violence. If one wants to change that, one has to start somewhere.

Stopping state sanctioned deliberate killing that legitimizes violence would probably be more effective than regulating video game content.

And, as a bonus, it wouldn't violate the Constitution.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe you confuse correlation with causation, which leads you to nonsensical conclusions. Thousands upon thousands of homicides occur each year in the U.S. without use of handgun. Comparing murder rates of your homeland with that of the U.S., and concentrating on handgun ownership as the causal factor, makes as much sense as comparing rates of ice hockey playing between Canada and the U.S., and concentrating on ice skate ownership as the causal factor.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Shooting a septagenarian at point blank range, shooting his elderly wife in the back from feet away, and blowing half the face off of their daughter is not a mistake. It is a crime, and it is a crime deserving of being put down like a rabid dog.

But why shouldn't the state execute such a man by also blowing off half his face? Why go soft and advocate only that he put down like a dog?

You see, everybody draws the line at what they consider to be barbaric for the state to engage in their own way. But everybody DOES draw that line. The state doesn't go around maiming people who have maimed people, however much they may "deserve" it.

The only real question is, is killing someone itself something the state should never do, except in self defense, or in defense of others?

My expectation is that, over time, our society will get to the place where Europe has been for some time, where inducing death, however "humanely", is itself considered to be barbaric.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 13, 2005 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK
I mean, theoretically, a prison could be set up like a Four Seasons, with prisoners fed filet mignon and given all the booze and entertainment they want. No one would realistically argue for that (except maybe the prisoners themselves), even though they would be no more or less a threat to society.

Yeah, no one would realistically argue for additional public cost with no additional public benefit.

So?

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

>I think these are the sorts of arguments one Incidentally, the Japan example is all the more convincing a demonstration of how effective the absence of handguns is at reducing the murder rate.

Surprise! I agree with you. So, that being the case, why didn't you just say that in the first place, rather than fingering a non-issue like movies and videogames?

>By the way, including gory, specific examples of imaginary or real crimes is not going to put fear in my heart and drive me to agree with your desire to take the lives of others.

Those are the details of Tookie's, quite real, crimes. And I don't really care about putting fear in your heart.

>All it does is make me wonder about the details you omitted, such as the motives for these crimes

From what I understand, the motive was about $100 in cash. Life is cheap, eh?

>You've removed the humanity of the suspects, probably on the assumption that the victims are more important.

I did not remove the humanity of Tookie Williams. He did it himself, by murdering his fellow humans in cold blood. Given that he has been found guilty, repeatedly, over the course of several reviews and more than two decades, you're damn right I find the victims more important than his worthless self.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obscenity laws don't violate the Constitution. The FCC manages to keep TV stations from airing explicit porn during daytime without being struck down by the Supreme Court. I can't for the life of me figure out why it's constitutionally protected speech to show Vin Diesel slicing people's heads off, but legally punishable to show Jenna Jameson doin' the nasty.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

What they fail to acknowledge, simply, is what other civilized societies across the earth have come to recognize: the death penalty itself, no matter how "humanely" administered", is degrading and repulsive.
.................................................
There are no moral absolutes here...whether lethal injection is degrading and repulsive is in the eye of the beholder.

Im sure some people consider eating a hamburger degrading and repulsive, knowing full well that an innocent and helpless animal was brutally killed so you can have satisfy your need for that Big Mac.

Posted by: Rhythmwize on December 13, 2005 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

makes as much sense as comparing rates of ice hockey playing between Canada and the U.S., and concentrating on ice skate ownership as the causal factor.

If I wanted to stop Canadians from playing hockey, taking away their skates would be a good first step. How would you do it?

But we go far afield from the topic of capital punishment.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

>If I wanted to stop Canadians from playing hockey, taking away their skates would be a good first step. How would you do it?

"Skates don't play hockey, people do."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Besides, if you take away their hockey, they will just find other ways to brawl and beat each other up. You'd just drive the Canadians to rugby.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Um, he's not. He's gotten the most attention recently because he was the next person scheduled to die, and people who are actually anti-death penalty oppose each and every application of that barbaric penalty.

Bullshit. It's because he's in California, and his case is more high-profile than most. Jamie Foxx made a fucking movie about him fer crissakes. Does that happen for each and every application?

Follow the Cory Maye link above (here's another) for a better example of where this fight should be fought, and here is a more complete picture of my views on the topic.

Posted by: Mr Furious on December 13, 2005 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe, they'd play hockey anyways, except without the skates. Thanks for proving my point.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

MJ Memphis, you have not answered my simple question of "Why?"

Why does he need to be killed?

I will not respond to you further until you answer the question. "Because he killed" is not a satisfactory answer. What problem will killing him solve that incarceration does not?

But while you're here I'll throw you some bonus question. Why are the details of Tookie's crimes more important than the details of his motives? Why would someone kill for $100? Which is more likely to deter future potential killers: addressing the circumstances that create the motivation, or killing Tookie who has already murdered and is currently safely incarcerated? Even if it is difficult to do the former (address the motivation), why is it necessary to do the latter? Extra credit for using any actual statistical data or capital punishment studies to back up your case. Unfortunately, I think you'll find that such factual data indicates that capital punishment has no deterrance, so I'll be delighted to find out what other reasons you come up with for killing him.

So, to reiterate: why?

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

You'd just drive the Canadians to rugby.

These British colonies that never rebelled, with their strange games involving oblong balls. Why can't they play football like normal people? And no, I don't mean that Australian-rules thing.

Incidentally, rugby is the most concise possible argument against the notion of deterrence. If you inflicted that kind of bodily harm on a prisoner, you'd be on trial in the Hague. And these guys volunteer for it. It's all about social context...

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe, the govt sending armed men to come take my guns in order to stop "gun crime" makes about as much sense as, say, executing a murderer to show that killing is wrong. If guns are so bad, don't use yours (i.e. the govt's) to take mine.

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"What if Tookie Williams actually did repent of his past deeds and was trying to amends for what he'd done? Or do you not believe that a person can be rehabilitated?"

I believe a person can be rehabiliitated, and I'm not questioning whether Williams truly regretted what he did. I'm sure most death row inmates regret what they did, especially as their execution gets closer.

Whether or not he was rehabilitated or repentant is irrelevant to the question of his punishment. We punish people for murder. Depending on the state you live in you are either executed or sent to prison for a long time. We aren't talking about a bank robber or perjurer, we are talking about someone who ended forever the life of another human, in the process tragically impacting the lives of those who loved his victims. Even if he shouldn't have been executed he should never have been released from prison. His repentance doesn't make his crime any less horrid than that of other murderers who don't repent.

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK
Obscenity laws don't violate the Constitution.

Quite often, they do and are found to by the courts, though its possible for them (under well-established if, given the text, dubiously reasoned case law) not to.

The FCC manages to keep TV stations from airing explicit porn during daytime without being struck down by the Supreme Court.

TV stations are not given full protection of the first amendment on the premise that the airwaves are a limited public resource, and that TV broadcasts come into your home "on their own" without your consent.

Neither argument, ignoring the defects in both particularly the latter in any case, applies to video game content, in general.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

If guns are so bad, don't use yours (i.e. the govt's) to take mine.

Who said guns are bad? In the hands of the proper authorities, I think they're fine. Like, say, plutonium.

brooksfoe, they'd play hockey anyways, except without the skates.

Yes, but you must concede it would be FUN TO WATCH. And in case you think I've lost track of the analogy here - I look forward to the day when Americans, deprived of their guns, will be forced to try to murder each other with their bare hands. It'll be like WWF, all the time.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

tbroz,

you are a snarky, unmitigated asshole. Is that a clear enough position for you?

r.mutt

Posted by: R.Mutt on December 13, 2005 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

the mistake in death penalty discussions [cough] is focusing on the killee, when the focus ought to be on the killers. While killees move on to whatever, it is the killers, including the electorate supporting a government-as-proxi-killer, that get to live the balance of their lives with blood on their hands for crimes against humanity, against their religion, and against...life.

And in the case of execution of an innocent person (mistaken or not), the supporters of state sponsored execution, i.e., the killers get to live the balance of their lives as murderers whether knowingly and or not (the absence of knowledge of complicity in a murder does not absolve one from being an accomplice to murder).

So for selfish reasons alone - the sanctity ones soul, it is well worth being wholly against the death penalty. Put another way, are those convicted of heinous crimes (rightly or wrongly) worth the soiling of ones soul?

Posted by: spek on December 13, 2005 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

you're damn right I find the victims more important than his worthless self.

I don't accept that. Why? His victims are already dead, and his existence may be doing more to prevent future victims of other individuals than his death is likely to prevent.

Is he really worthless? Is his continued existence as a reformed example really worth nothing? Is his death really worth more? What gives you the right, or the competency, to make that judgement?

I think the responsibility for making a clear-cut case and answering these sorts of questions rests on the shoulders of the person arguing for an irreversible action. So, go ahead, make your case. You haven't started yet. You've merely proven that life isn't worth much to you, and you're willing to take any life you judge worthless.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hey spek,

bringin' home the bacon. The real question is: with all that bad karma coming down on our heads, what will we come back as, after we've "moved on to whatever"? Cockroaches? Parameciums? Or some really low life form, like Asheton Kutcher?

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Adam,

There are reports that he maintained some control over the Crips while in prison. In fact, when he was knifed in prison it was reportedly in retaliation for a knifing of a rival gang member that he ordered while in prison.

Just to reiterate what I said waaaay upthread:
"I saw a suggestion elsewhere that I could support, with regards to death row inmates- abolish the death penalty, move to life imprisonment, *but* make the imprisonment much, much tougher. No outside contact (except, presumably, with a lawyer for appeals); no book deals; no interviews; no nothing. You get 3 meals, a cot, reading material, and all the time in the world, with absolutely no possibility of parole, and the knowledge that, barring a successful appeal, the only way you will leave prison is in a coffin. How does that sound?"
So, how does that sound to you? Or am I correct in assuming that you would probably call that cruel and inhumane treatment?

>Why are the details of Tookie's crimes more important than the details of his motives?

That's easy- because that is why he was convicted, and ultimately put to death. Context matters.

>Why would someone kill for $100?

Because they are low-life scum with no respect for the rights of their fellow people?

>Which is more likely to deter future potential killers: addressing the circumstances that create the motivation, or killing Tookie who has already murdered and is currently safely incarcerated?

And why is this an either/or question?

>Unfortunately, I think you'll find that such factual data indicates that capital punishment has no deterrance, so I'll be delighted to find out what other reasons you come up with for killing him.

Deterrence isn't everything. One thing is for sure, though... he personally won't be causing any more trouble.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

you are a snarky, unmitigated asshole.

You seem to be using "snarky" here as if it were an insult. I resent that.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Obscenity laws don't violate the Constitution.

Quite often, they do and are found to by the courts, though its possible for them (under well-established if, given the text, dubiously reasoned case law) not to.

The FCC manages to keep TV stations from airing explicit porn during daytime without being struck down by the Supreme Court.
TV stations are not given full protection of the first amendment on the premise that the airwaves are a limited public resource, and that TV broadcasts come into your home "on their own" without your consent.

Neither argument, ignoring the defects in both particularly the latter in any case, applies to video game content, in general.

The only thing I would like to add to cmdicely's statement is that, were a broadcaster to take the FCC to court, and challenge it up to the level of the Supreme Court, the FCC's rights to regulate/fine/limit content on the airwaves would not be held to be Constitutional.

This has not happened because the Congress gave the FCC unconstitutional rights to regulate and limit speech and content AND it gave it the ability to take away the licenses of broadcast companies that challenge it. A broadcast entity commits commercial suicide by challenging the FCC; hence, no one really has taken up the cause.

The FCC has no right to limit free speech. We tolerate an unconstitutional reality because of the public support for some decency and a semblance of standards.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 13, 2005 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

>I don't accept that. Why? His victims are already dead, and his existence may be doing more to prevent future victims of other individuals than his death is likely to prevent.

Well, keep on not accepting it. And since you want hard data, here's your opportunity to do the same- prove that Tookie's few kid's books and half-hearted denunciations of gangs have saved more lives than were taken by the gang he himself helped create.

>What gives you the right, or the competency, to make that judgement?

Not a thing. You may have noticed my name was not on his death warrant. Nor was I one of the jurors who convicted him the first time, or one of the many judges who were not convinced by his later appeals. Neither, I'll wager, were you.

>You've merely proven that life isn't worth much to you, and you're willing to take any life you judge worthless.

Well, a murderer's life isn't worth much to me, I'll grant that. But, unlike Mr. Williams, I have yet to take anyone's life, and I have a feeling I won't be gunning down any elderly people any time soon.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

The FCC has no right to limit free speech. We tolerate an unconstitutional reality because of the public support for some decency and a semblance of standards.

As I'm sure cmdicely would agree, the right to free speech guaranteed in the Constitution is not absolute; the yelling-fire-in-a-crowded-theater example is the classic one of unprotected speech. I'm not sure I trust your interpretation of what's constitutional and what isn't in this regard. That said, I agree that the reason for FCC regulations is "the public support for some decency and a sembalance of standards". Is there something wrong with this? All I'm saying is that in my book, movies which glorify mindless slaughter are as "indecent" as the ones which are currently prohibited by the FCC.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it that conservatives are always so ready to kill someone, except a blastocyst that is? Can't wait to go to war, can't wait to own a handgun with the hopes of shooting someone breaking into your unlocked home, can't wait to execute someone. But at the same time they are the people with the values and morals and are favored by Jesus. I really don't understand.

Posted by: whosays on December 13, 2005 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Who said guns are bad? In the hands of the proper authorities, I think they're fine

Remember the circumstances in the original post? The cops who stormed Maye's house were the "proper authorities", yet these guys are the only ones you trust with guns. Govt wrongdoing leads you to wish to ban private handguns.

The fact is, to get all the guns (assuming that was possible), you'd need more raids like the one in the OP, for the same reason they're 'needed' for the War on Drugs - people who think it's none of your business won't cooperate voluntarily (most people will report a rapist, but not a friend or neighbor with some pot or a gun). You're calling for more gun violence, not less.

Posted by: Scott on December 13, 2005 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe, a quibble.
The Constitution suggests nowhere that the right of free speech is NOT absolute, insofar as Congress is concerned.
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech."

Posted by: kenga on December 13, 2005 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Is there something wrong with this? All I'm saying is that in my book, movies which glorify mindless slaughter are as "indecent" as the ones which are currently prohibited by the FCC.

Well, I was hoping cmdicely would step in with his perspective, but were there ever to be a substantive challenge to the FCCs right to regulate speech and impose fines on broadcast companies, it would not be found Constitutional and it would likely be found that Congress granted the FCC powers that trample on the First Amendment rights of Americans.

Having said that, there is tolerance for this type of law because of community standards. Who's going to piss away millions and destroy their company just to show boobies on TV?

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 13, 2005 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, brooksfoe, hockey, when not played with skates, is pretty boring, as is professional wrestling. Now, what evidence do you have that the prohibition on handgun ownership would A.) actually have the effect of stopping the possession of handguns by those most likely to commit crimes with them, and B.), would actually greatly reduce the murder rate? If more than five thousand murders a year are committed without use of a handgun annually in the U.S., the example of your resident country, where there are practically no murders, is of no analytical value.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Remember the circumstances in the original post? The cops who stormed Maye's house were the "proper authorities", yet these guys are the only ones you trust with guns. Govt wrongdoing leads you to wish to ban private handguns.

If Maye hadn't had a handgun, he wouldn't be on death row, and the cop he killed would still be alive too. He was under the mistaken impression that he was safer owning a gun. Maye's case illustrates yet again, if any further illustration were needed, that owning a gun makes you less safe, not more.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Are you quite sure about that? Where do you live? What is the murder rate, and where do you draw that information from?"

From experience. I too, hardly ever lock my doors. Anyway, your contention that guns are the source of violent crime is simple incorrect.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

If more than five thousand murders a year are committed without use of a handgun annually in the U.S.,

As of 1998, 65% of murders in the US were committed with handguns, according to the FBI. What say we get rid of those 65% of murders first, and then work on the other 35%?

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, your contention that guns are the source of violent crime is simple incorrect.

Well, there you go then. Another argument settled through the simple assertion of dogmatic ignorance.

"In 1996, for instance, 30 people were killed with handguns in Great Britain, 106 in Canada and 211 in Germany. In the U.S., 9,390 died this way. In Japan,15." http://www.jointogether.org/gv/issues/problem/global/

Oh yeah, that's right - correlation, not causality! And maybe all those people who die of lung cancer just happen to also smoke cigarettes.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

>As of 1998, 65% of murders in the US were committed with handguns, according to the FBI. What say we get rid of those 65% of murders first, and then work on the other 35%?

This assumes a couple of highly dubious premises:
1) That the 65% of murders with handguns would not have been committed otherwise;
2) That prohibition of legal ownership of handguns would remove the guns from the hands of the people committing most of those murders. Like, you know, prohibition of some drugs has kept said drugs from being easily available to anyone determined to get them.

Not that I don't believe some tight controls on handguns aren't appropriate and beneficial, but I doubt banning handguns would be the panacea you seem to think.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

abolish the death penalty, move to life imprisonment, *but* make the imprisonment much, much tougher.

That's fine with me. I'm perfectly comfortable with not killing people. Then we can get to the business of arguing how tough imprisonment should be.

So why, if that's an acceptible solution to you, did you respond in the following manner to a half-sentence from my first post in this thread:

> People who make mistakes or commit crimes should not be condemned,

Giving someone improper change is a mistake. Shooting a septagenarian at point blank range, shooting his elderly wife in the back from feet away, and blowing half the face off of their daughter is not a mistake. It is a crime, and it is a crime deserving of being put down like a rabid dog.

Again, I note the "or", and note that you took my statement out of context. My message was not that people who commit crimes should not be dealt with, it was that capital punishment is not an acceptible way of dealing with it. Instead of proffering an acceptible way, you asserted that murder is a crime "deserving of being put down like a rabid dog."

I asked why, and you never answered the question, but instead made a roundabout transformation to he assertion that not killing people would be acceptible to you if incarceration were harsher, which means you're fine with ending capital punishment. Why don't we as a society just do that and then get on the business of discussing the most effective methods of incarceration and rehabilitation? Keeping civilized benchmarks like the Geneva convention in mind, of course.

As long as people who may be innocent have a chance for reprieve, and our prisons don't devolve into medieval dungeons (or even to deplorable Victorian prison standards), I'm satisfied.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt banning handguns would be the panacea you seem to think.

I don't think it would be a panacea. What disturbs me is that progressives seem to have given up on it because they're afraid it upsets NASCAR fans and will lose Democrats elections. I feel that when something is killing 9000 Americans a year, and only a couple of dozen Europeans, it's something that American society should try to get rid of. We're talking about 3 9/11s per year due to handguns - and then we dare lecture the Europeans that we're keeping them safe by torturing suspected Al-Qaeda members. How can we claim to know anything about keeping our citizens safe when we allow them to run around blowing each other away - and indemnify the people who make the machines that do the killing? These things meet the definition of an attractive nuisance; anybody who makes one should be up to his ass in liability lawsuits.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Why? Incarceration would solve the same problem of removing the person from society, and acknowledge the potential for error in the criminal system,"

I don't see how it addresses errors since you cannot give back time taken away.

"as well as the potential for change in human beings, and the righteousness of mercy in modern civilizations. Murdering them just puts you back in the stone age."

Not really. The United States, world leader in science and technology, military, economics, culture, etc... certainly isn't in the stone age.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

There is no good argument for the death penalty.
A deterrent? Why don't we use it with other serious crimes? Don't we want to deter those as well? Also, you call lethal injection a deterrent? Hang, draw and quarter--now, that's deterrent. Also, put it on TV if you really want a deterrent. And make it required viewing. Revenge? Then let the relatives do it. With baseball bats and knives. Some people just can't live in our society (the efficiency argument)? There are many other criminals, then, who need executing. Child molestors, for example. Over 90% recidivism and a nasty crime to boot. Ditto rapists. Did I mis any?

Posted by: Jose Padilla on December 13, 2005 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK
I don't see how it addresses errors since you cannot give back time taken away.

It is at least possible to cease imprisonment when an error is found; much hard to stop someone executed from being dead.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't say it "addresses" errors, I said it acknowledges them. It does so by not killing.

The point of incarceration is not to take time but to separate from society individuals who aren't playing by society's rules. You can place someone back into society (though they may need some adjusting after having been in prison), but you can't raise them from the dead.

And, to be pedantic, unless you know something I don't about physics, no time has been robbed from anyone in prison. They are robbed of the niceties of society, but they have the time, of which they would truly be robbed if they were killed.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how it addresses errors since you cannot give back time taken away.

If your momma was falsely convicted of being a punk-ass ho, would you be happier if she were sentenced to life in prison and released based on new testimony after 11 years, or would you rather she be put to death and exonerated posthumously?

I never cease to be impressed by conservatives' capacity to embrace deliberate stupidity.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

"But while you're here I'll throw you some bonus question. Why are the details of Tookie's crimes more important than the details of his motives? Why would someone kill for $100? Which is more likely to deter future potential killers: addressing the circumstances that create the motivation, or killing Tookie who has already murdered and is currently safely incarcerated?"

Actually Tookie said he killed Owens because he was white and he wanted to kill white people. He also made racially derogatory comments about the three Chinese victims. It's obvious by today's standards, these are all hate crimes. Perhaps viewed in this light, liberals would be more inclined to welcome the needle for Tookie?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

>Again, I note the "or", and note that you took my statement out of context. My message was not that people who commit crimes should not be dealt with, it was that capital punishment is not an acceptible way of dealing with it. Instead of proffering an acceptible way, you asserted that murder is a crime "deserving of being put down like a rabid dog."

Alright, what is the context then? You said that people who make mistakes *or* commit crimes should not be condemned. To me, that appears to be conflating two very different things. If I were both anti-CP and anti-choice, and said that "neither unborn children nor convicted murderers should be killed", most here would rightly call me on it. The context that I read was that you were calling Williams' acts a "mistake", which is rather like calling the Pacific Ocean a "pond".

And as you noted, I did proffer an alternative. Of course, since neither of us is in a position to enact it, the point is rather moot, eh?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe this thread has gone this long without anyone quoting Emo Philips:

"Some people are against capital punishment, because they say that it turns the state into a murderer. I'm against imprisonment, because it turns the state into a gay dungeon-master."

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"In 1996, for instance, 30 people were killed with handguns in Great Britain, 106 in Canada and 211 in Germany. In the U.S., 9,390 died this way. In Japan,15." http://www.jointogether.org/gv/issues/problem/global/

"Oh yeah, that's right - correlation, not causality! And maybe all those people who die of lung cancer just happen to also smoke cigarettes."

Maybe you can explain something. Why is Germany's rate more than 10 times that of Japan's even though Japan has a higher population?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on December 13, 2005 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

MJ Memphis, I was speaking of capital punishment as a general policy. Nowhere in my original comment did I name any specific criminal, so I fail to see how you consider my use of the word mistake to be referring specifically to Williams. However, since Williams was one of the people Kevin mentioned in his post about capital punishment, I can see how some might think I was referring to one of those specific people in his post and get confused.

You did proffer an alternative, after much wasted time. If not killing people is acceptible to you, then you should state that and your alternative at the beginning of any capital punishment discussion and leave it at that, rather than wasting everyone's time with long arguments in favor of killing people, especially long arguments in which you never actually answer anyone's questions as to why.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 13, 2005 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

>You did proffer an alternative, after much wasted time.

Scroll up higher a bit. I was quoting from my second post on this topic, way up thread. Which is why I said "Just to reiterate what I said waaaay upthread:" and surrounded the alternative with quotation marks. Perils of the long thread.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Germany's rate more than 10 times that of Japan's even though Japan has a higher population?

Because Japan has a thousand year history of Confucianism. Because paid sex is widely available and not stigmatized in Japan, leading to lower rates of rape-murder. Because Asians are genetically inclined to calmness. Who knows, or cares? US handgun murder rates are 600 times the Japanese rate. Your question is like looking at which ethnicities are most likely to win marathons, and wondering why Danes do somewhat better than Chinese. The point with marathons is that the Kenyans blow everyone else out of the water. The point with handgun deaths is that the US is in a different league.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, I should correct that: adjusted for population size, US handgun death rates are more like 250 times the Japanese rates. The point stands.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

China, Iran, the US, and Vietnam account for 97% of the executions in 2004.

Ooooh, there's some good company.

Posted by: ckelly on December 13, 2005 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

>Because Japan has a thousand year history of Confucianism. Because paid sex is widely available and not stigmatized in Japan, leading to lower rates of rape-murder. Because Asians are genetically inclined to calmness. Who knows, or cares?

Well, it is rather important if you want to try and prove causation that you minimize your other variable influences. The first thing that jumps out at me is that Japan is still mostly homogeneous; Germany significantly less so; and the US much, much less so. Also, the US has much higher levels of income stratification than either one. Both seem like pretty significant influences. This is in addition to the fact that the US is much, much larger and varied than either one; when you start talking about the differences between, say, rural Maine vs. inner-city Los Angeles vs. small-town Texas, you may as well be talking about different countries.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

>China, Iran, the US, and Vietnam account for 97% of the executions in 2004.

>Ooooh, there's some good company.

Hmm... I wonder what percentage of the race riots France and Australia account for so far this year?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

[Bush] didn't kill someone,and the [unjust War] he founded has been responsible for [thousands] of deaths. Thus, he was [re-elected].

Posted by: ckelly on December 13, 2005 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, Brooksfoe, do you have any evidence that prohibiting the possession of handguns would be any more effective in removing them from people who are inclined to use them for criminal purposes, any more than banning the possession of some drugs has been effective in removing them from people who would like to have drugs? What is it about your view of human nature that leads you to believe that millions of people who are highly motivated to engage in activity x will refrain from activity x once a few hundred people in Washington D.C. tell them to stop? Are you completely innured to empirical observation? The reason there aren't 250,000 murders a year in the U.S. is because the overwhelming majority of people see such behavior as unacceptable, not because some laws prohibit it. Millions of people in the U.S. wish to own handguns, and the ones who are least persuadable to giving them up via legislation are precisely the ones who are doing the murdering now.

Next, please, once again, demonstrate with empirical evidence that the two thirds of murderers who use handguns would forgo murder without access to such guns, (assuming the silly premise is accepted that banning handguns would end the widespread ownership of handguns) and would not simply employ the methods favored by the 1/3 that are now murdering without handguns. Is it your position that they lack the cognitive ability to murder by means used in over 5000 homicides in the U.S. annually? It doesn't take a whole lot of intelligence to plunge a knife into somebody, or to hit them on the head with a tire iron repeatedly.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen sez:


"I have a slightly different take on this. I worked inner-city trauma during the height of the crack wars. Whether Mr. Williams killed those four people or not, he created an organization that killed and ruined the lives of literally thousands of people. Mothers whose children were gunned down senselessly 20 years ago are still grieving. I'm as liberal as they come. I pine for that perfect world that would render the death penalty moot, but that ain't where we live. And I have seen what they do to one another up close and personal, to the point of washing brain matter off my shoes after a trauma arrived in my ER. Given the ripple effect of his actions, I dunno if there is enough redemption in the world to offset the choices Tookie made early in his life."

Ok, let's talk ripple effects. The "crack wars" are a direct and foreseeable side effect of the USA's draconian drug laws, in exactly the same way Prohibition led to gangster-fueled violence for turf in the alcohol trade. To blame Mr. Williams for this is nonsense.

Have you ever voted for a party or candidate who supports drug criminalization? Gone to see a violent movie? Consumed alcohol or prescription drugs from a company that lobbies for anti drug laws?

If so, I suggest you consider to what extent you are morally culpable for that poor man's (or woman's) brains on your shoes. Is this amount more or less than Mr. Williams? If he deserves to die for his amount of culpability, what should your punishment be?

We are taking away your "liberal as they come" card and replacing it with a temporary "quite liberal, but still saddled with some reactionary ideas" card.

Posted by: xmd on December 13, 2005 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"At the same time, if anyone does deserve the death penalty, Tookie Williams is surely it. Regardless of what he's done since, the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy."

You know, I am also not opposed to the death penalty qua the death penalty, but this statement is just idiotic. I concur that there are people who are such a detriment to society that they corrupt both the general population and any people they may interact with in prison, and that for such people execution needs to be considered. But never for vengance, never for retribution, and never with such callous disregard for the people who will inevitably be effected by this kind of action. Regardless of your stance about Mr. Williams crimes or his relative merits as an individual you demean yourself and, frankly, this publication through such ridiculous bloviating.

Posted by: Chad Robinson on December 13, 2005 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

From way, way up this enormous thread:

I actually find this a good question. Why is four strokes with the cane considered barbaric, while locking someone up for a month is not? Clearly the only purposes of locking someone up for a month are retribution and deterrence - no one is going to be rehabilitated in a month. So why not just whack 'em with a cane a few times and save everyone some time? Is there some idea here that it is only an individual's freedom, not his physical well-being, that the state has a right to deprive him of? And why?

I don't think you'd even need physical pain, brooksfoe. Bring back the stocks and the pillory. Public shame is a hell of a lot more effective as a deterrent than private confinement is. Also cheaper and less time-consuming. A day or two would cover most misdemeanors, yes?

I am at least semi-serious about this. So long as humiliation is the one thing most pride-stuffed thugs can't endure, humiliating them in front of all eyes is an effective and cheap deterrent. Weird that people find this barbaric, while quietly locking people up for years "with their own chamber-pots," as Rumpole would say, is humane.

Posted by: waterfowl on December 13, 2005 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ya' know xmd, it is perfectly possible to denounce Prohibition as awful while also concluding that Al Capone was deserving of the death penalty, if he had been convicted of the capital crimes he was guilty of, and that Capone was much more morally culpable than the idiots who passed Prohibition.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 13, 2005 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Regardless of what he's done since, the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy.

You are shameful Mr. Drum. Mr. Williams received the death penalty because he was poor, an African American, and associated with the dreaded 'gang' word.

'Gang.!'

Mr. Drum wet his pants.

Posted by: Nope on December 13, 2005 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, as I recall Williams was sentenced to death for one (1) count of blackness in the first degree, one (1) count of second-degree poverty, and one (1) count of affiliation with the word "gang".

Per the California Dept of Corrections webpage, there have been twelve executions in California since the return of capital punishment, not counting Williams. Ten of them appear to be white. One is Asian- Thai, judging by the name. One is black. I guess they must have been really, really poor and "associated" with some really fearsome words to merit execution. Looking over the roster, though, I see they are all associated with one word- "murder".

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Thou shalt not kill." - God's commandment.

When the government executes a prisoner it is putting itself above God's law.

So I guess that means there won't be any more executions in red states.

Posted by: slanted tom on December 13, 2005 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

>When the government executes a prisoner it is putting itself above God's law.

Without getting into the theology here, why on earth should this argument hold any more water coming from you on the death penalty than coming from, say, Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on any other issues? The United States is (supposed to be) a secular government, under secular laws. If your religion is against the death penalty, don't apply to be an executioner.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK
Without getting into the theology here, why on earth should this argument hold any more water coming from you on the death penalty than coming from, say, Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on any other issues?

I don't think that was an argument about what the law should be.

I think it was a way of suggesting that the Christian Right theological-political stance is intensely hypocritical and selective when it comes to applying Biblical commands.

At least, that's what I took from it.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Yeah, that is the way I took it too. But, given that *no* major religion of which I am aware has a 100%, no exceptions, ban on killing, it seems rather ignorant of historical context.

BTW, am I the only one who finds it really humorous reading the Vatican's pronouncements on the death penalty? Especially given that the current Pope was head of the office formerly known as the Inquisition?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK
Yeah, that is the way I took it too. But, given that *no* major religion of which I am aware has a 100%, no exceptions, ban on killing, it seems rather ignorant of historical context.

Most religions don't both (1) have a basic text which states "thou shalt not kill", and (2) claim that that basic text is the literal and infallible Word of God that must be applied without exception or variation in all circumstances.

Of course,its an easy charge because the literalist, inerrantist approach to the Bible is doomed from the outset as inconsistent because the Bible contains numerous literal contradictions that can only be resolved by taking some parts either as non-literal or non-inerrant. But that just underscores that the doctrine is incoherent as the basis for any kind of advocacy, political or otherwise.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK
BTW, am I the only one who finds it really humorous reading the Vatican's pronouncements on the death penalty? Especially given that the current Pope was head of the office formerly known as the Inquisition?

Since the Vatican's consistent position on the death penalty is that it is licit but that the conditions which justify it are rarely if ever present (the current Pope is, IIRC, on record, prior to becoming Pope, as stating the opinion "never present") in the modern world, I'm not sure what exactly would be humorous (presumably, because of irony) about that.

Please, enlighten us.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2005 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

This is a post from a Tucker Carlson entry at msnbc.com. Now, while I am not a Carlson fan, here he is focusing on the correct people -- Williams' victims.

"But do they know his victims' names? Do they know anything about Albert Owens, the night manager of a 7-11 who was 26-years-old when Williams forced him to kneel to the ground before shooting him twice in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun? Owens left behind two daughters."

Whether the death penalty is good or bad people should not make Williams out to be a hero. He was a thug and a murderer. At the least, he deserved to be in prison.

The rest of Carlson's post can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10284169/#051212a

Posted by: Georgia Hoo on December 13, 2005 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Ah, nice save there- "in the modern world". So I guess the conditions were just fine before then, back when the church was running the executions. But I really don't particularly care to start a religious flame war on a topic that has otherwise stayed remarkably on track, so I will demur on the enlightment.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Most religions don't both (1) have a basic text which states "thou shalt not kill",

Well, cmdicely, you know as well as anyone that that's a bad translation of "lo tirtzach" (thou shalt not murder). On the other hand, for the last 500 or so years people have been reading the Bible in English, not Latin, let alone Hebrew, so the relevance of the original should be moot by now.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2005 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

MJ Memphis...

Do I know you? Have you posted here before under...a different handle?

You argue like an old friend of mine. Poorly, and by repeating yourself as you annoy others.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 13, 2005 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider,

Nope, can't say I use many different aliases. Nor am I a regular poster on this board, I normally just read. But I notice, scanning the thread, that you have 4 posts, unless I missed one- one to Charlie about spamming a Howard Dean thread, two about the FCC, and one vague complaint about my comments (amounting to: I don't like your opinion, therefore it is annoying). Whereas I have at least tried to stay on topic. You have anything constructive to add, or do you prefer to snipe and bitch?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

You have anything constructive to add, or do you prefer to snipe and bitch?

Nah, that's okay Donna Pissypants. Nothing further to add.

Next time, don't use the word 'bitch.' It totally gave you away.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 13, 2005 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

>Nah, that's okay Donna Pissypants. Nothing further to add.

>Next time, don't use the word 'bitch.' It totally gave you away.

Ya know, fella, I have no idea who you are or who you think I am. It sounds, though, like you're paranoid. Do you really think that there is only one person in the world who could possibly disagree with you? And that there is only one person in the world who uses the word "bitch"?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Donna Pissypants,

Hilarious. Next time try harder.

Oh and, you might have fooled some of the people here, but I guarantee you that you did not fool Mr. Dicely.

Guarantee you...

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 13, 2005 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever. Let Mr. Dicely speak for himself, if he cares to. On the only exchange I've had with him, he seemed civil enough. You, on the other hand, are a self-righteous prick with a weird vendetta and a seeming inability to discuss a thread topic. Good day.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 13, 2005 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK
Well, cmdicely, you know as well as anyone that that's a bad translation of "lo tirtzach" (thou shalt not murder).

Hey, I'm not the one that believes the King James is authoritative.

Of course, for those -- i.e., most -- in the Christian Right that embrace the retributive theory of punishment, there is always Romans 12:17-21 --

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
On the other hand, for the last 500 or so years people have been reading the Bible in English, not Latin, let alone Hebrew, so the relevance of the original should be moot by now.

While Latin's hardly ever read, I'm quite sure hundreds of millions of Christians of various varieties read the Bible in languages other than English. Probably one or two even in Hebrew.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 14, 2005 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

>Hey, I'm not the one that believes the King James is authoritative.

Authoritative or not, it is a beautiful piece of literature, even for us infidels.

Incidentally, cmdicely, since your name has been floated recently, would you mind telling me what sort of blog vendetta I've stepped into above?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 14, 2005 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Back on topic, I agree with Kevin when he wrote: "if anyone does deserve the death penalty, Tookie Williams is surely it. Regardless of what he's done since, the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy."

Posted by: Robert on December 14, 2005 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK
Incidentally, cmdicely, since your name has been floated recently, would you mind telling me what sort of blog vendetta I've stepped into above?

Don P is (was?) a fairly regular poster particularly that I (among others) have tangled with a lot. Particularly fond of jumping into religion threads and arguing, or at least asserting, that that all religion is inherently evil and inherently dying and inherently inconsistent with liberalism and some other standard lines.

Pale Rider's characterization of his posting isn't something I would argue with, though I don't think you seem much like him. But given the number of nameshifting trolls we've seen around here, I can see how PR might have a bit of hair trigger toward them.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 14, 2005 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

I think the whole thing about 'thou shalt not kill' being 'thou shalt not murder' was covered once.

There's a whole religion of people who have to know what the original hebrew means - so I'm pretty sure I have support for my position.

Posted by: McAristotle on December 14, 2005 at 3:29 AM | PERMALINK

You, on the other hand, are a self-righteous prick with a weird vendetta and a seeming inability to discuss a thread topic.

The fact is, I never called MJ Memphis a name. I immediately began addressing Donna Pissypants. The vitriol seems to line up with someone who's been caught changing handles in order to avoid the excess baggage of the previous handle. That's why MJ Memphis shouldn't be the least bit offended--if you are in fact, NOT Don P you should pay me no mind and ignore my paranoia and fearmongering. I took a chance and it seems like it hit the mark, as did my discovery that Donna Pissypants is an employee of DH Griffin of Texas.

On the other hand...you have come back pretty harshly, seemingly upset that your ruse didn't work.

To paraphrase the quote from the movie Clerks, I don't appreciate your ruse, Ma'am.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 14, 2005 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

Robert,

Yeah, we know that you're Cheney/Chuckles/Charlie, too.

Starting a sentence with:

Back on topic,

Was a dead giveaway. And, well, the fact that Stefan identified you on another thread.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 14, 2005 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

>The fact is, I never called MJ Memphis a name. I immediately began addressing Donna Pissypants.

Nope. You just began using your juvenile namecalling after quoting my text. What's your point?

>I took a chance and it seems like it hit the mark, as did my discovery that Donna Pissypants is an employee of DH Griffin of Texas.

Well, I don't know anything of the company, nor have I resided in the state of Texas for more than 6 weeks (back in '01). But if you are stalking people who dare to disagree with you, then you really deserve, in spades, the title of prick with strange vendetta.

>On the other hand...you have come back pretty harshly, seemingly upset that your ruse didn't work.

Why, could there possibly be another explanation? Maybe that, like most people, I do not particularly appreciate being accused of subterfuge and set upon by someone with the mindset of an overgrown kindergartener?

>To paraphrase the quote from the movie Clerks, I don't appreciate your ruse, Ma'am.

Well, ma'am, I am a sir, like it matters. But clearly, you have your small mind made up on the issue.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on December 14, 2005 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

No one speaks about the fact that even though the death penalty is with the law it is against all moral laws in the entire globe.

Posted by: Ryan on December 14, 2005 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Don't worry about it MJ Memphis - Mr. Pale Rider has to smear anyone he disagrees with - see poor Mr. Robert above.

No, Stefan caught you, Cheney.

Have you come back to spamming the thread? After all, that's exactly what you have threatened to continue doing.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 14, 2005 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Please point out ONE piece of "spam"?

The following is a partial archive of spam comments made by Cheney on the Howard Dean thread

Comment Count, Howard Dean thread:

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | TrackBack (0) | Comments (753)

SPAM:

President Bush Speaks at Concord Middle School in Concord, North Carolina
Concord Middle School
Concord, North Carolina
11:55 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Okay. "Dr. O." (Applause.) Thank you for your hospitality. It's an honor to be here. I want to thank you all for coming. Before I talk about a subject which is dear to my heart, which is education; and before I recognize all the distinguished guests, I do want to say that right after my visit here I am going to meet with the family of Petty Officer Third Class Steven Blocher. (Applause.)

[snip--3,759 words redacted]

Remarks by the President When Meeting the Parents of Petty Officer Third Class Steven Blocher
Concord Middle School
Concord, North Carolina
12:40 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I'm so honored that the Blocher family came to say hello. Obviously, when we were going to visit, we were just going to visit in a quiet way, a private way. Now that their son, Steven, will be coming home soon, I thought it would be appropriate for us to visit and then visit some with the press.

[snip - 3,454 words redacted]

I appreciate the hard work of our Ambassador to China, Joseph Prueher, and his entire embassy team, who worked tirelessly to solve this situation. The American people, their families, and I are proud of our crew, and we look forward to welcoming them home.
Thank you.
Posted by: Cheney on December 10, 2005 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney continues threatening to post more Spam and carries out threat:

Is that enough, mustard? In response to "What words did GWB utter? Did he say 'Iraq is an imminent threat'?" you posted: "Prove he didn't." Are you satisfied yet?
Posted by: Cheney on December 10, 2005 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney continues threatening to post more irrelevant spam:

Not yet, huh? O.K. then . . .
April 12, 2001
Remarks by the President on Parental Empowerment in Education
Presidential Hall
11:35 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please, be seated.

[snip-4,034 words redacted]

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.
GEORGE W. BUSH

Posted by: Cheney on December 10, 2005 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

April 13, 2001
Easter, 2001
I am pleased to send warm greetings to all those observing Easter. On this day, Christians around the world join in celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man.

[snip-656 words redacted]

You are hereby authorized and directed to transmit the attached report fulfilling these requirements for the period September 28, 2000, through March 27, 2001, to the appropriate committees of the Congress and to arrange for its publication in the Federal Register.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Posted by: Cheney on December 10, 2005 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

April 14, 2001
Radio Address by the President to the Nation
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend, I am at home in Crawford, Texas, with my wife and my family. Millions of other families are also spending time together this weekend, and Laura and I wish you all a happy Easter.
Our thoughts are also with the men and women of our military, deployed around the world and away from their families. They have our sincere gratitude. And on this holiday, we offer the thanks of our nation to the 24 servicemen and women who are no longer in China and are now home.
This weekend also marks the close of Passover, when Jews recall their deliverance from oppression. We hope this Passover has been a time of reflection and renewal. Renewal is the hope of every person, and the promise of many religions. This season signifies the hope of renewal, a reawakening, a fresh vision of our lives and our possibilities.

And in this season, we are reminded that on the path of renewal, we are not alone. We have one another, family members and friends, who know us and accept us as we are. And if we're very fortunate, we have people in our lives who see us not just as we are, but also as we can be. That is the love of family.
And many of us trust a Creator who knows us and loves us, and has a plan for our lives. We cannot know where that plan will lead us on Earth, but we are assured that it leads nearer to God. This is the comfort of faith. In this season of renewal, we remember that failures in life are never final, that hope leads us closer to the truth, that in the end, even death itself will be defeated. And that is the shared belief of many faiths, and that is the promise of Easter morning.
Thank you for listening.

Posted by: Cheney on December 10, 2005 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

One of many requests to stop spamming the thread, ignored by Charlie/Cheney:

Cheney:
It's really gotta hurt to be such a loser, doesn't it.
I don't know which is more pathetic -- trying to sabotage an argument you can't win on the merits (and on a Clintonian technicality of semantics, to boot), or having a collection of every word George Bush ever spoke.
You can spam this thread until Kevin shuts the comments off. It doesn't make you any less a loser.
Bob
Posted by: rmck1 on December 10, 2005 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 14, 2005 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

For the record, each of those posts were not "spam" but direct quotes to prove Bush never said Saddam was an "imminent threat". Next?

Ha! That's hilarious! You were cutting and pasting tens of thousands of words in an attempt to SHUT DOWN THE THREAD and you repeatedly boasted about your ability to do so. You were unabashed and unrepentant and you demonstrated clearly that you had no respect whatsover for the discussion, the blog host, or other commenters.

Busted. You're done. And the fact that you're still denying it and still lying about it changes nothing.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 14, 2005 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, Kevin. I used to come here for thoughtful analysis, but this is simply beyond the pale of thoughtless:

"the man was a gangster and a thug and hardly deserving of our sympathy"

Why don't we just start "rounding 'em all up" then?

Let's not even talk about the procedural barriers that prevents snitches' recantations.

We got a conviction, know he's a "bad guy" anyway, let's not look too closely at how that conviction was obtained & murder him.

If you really want a poster boiy for the Dp, why not look at CA's next victim, Clarnece Ray Allen? I'm sure you';ll be quite happy to see him "put down" too.

Disgusted,
Arcturus

Posted by: Arcturus on December 14, 2005 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

oops, that should be:

Let's not even talk about the procedural barriers that prevents snitches' recantations being heard in a court of law.

Posted by: Arcturus on December 14, 2005 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: herbal store on December 15, 2005 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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