Clemency for a Terrorist?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

California governor Arnold Schwartzeneger is, as of this writing, weighing clemency for former Crips leader Tookie Williams, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in California. I find the following pair of quotes rather provocative when considered together.

First, from a report that there may be riots if Williams is executed:

With less than four days to go before Williams' scheduled Tuesday execution, sporadic-yet-credible threats of civil unrest have prompted the council members and representatives from the city and county human relations commissions to ask religious leaders to emphasize a message of peace during weekend services.

"We picked up information that led us to believe that there were some planned and intentioned acts of violence that could occur in the wake of the decision or the execution planned for Stan "Tookie" Williams," Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, said during a news conference at City Hall.

Toma declined to list the affected communities or elaborate on the threats. [bold and links added]
And second, we have an interview in which we learn that Williams considers himself innocent and wants not merely to be spared the executioner's needle, but to be freed!
WHITFIELD: And so how aware of the publicity surrounding his case is [Williams]?

BRESLAU: He's acutely aware of it.

WHITFIELD: And is he being very much fueled by it as well?

BRESLAU: Well, he's acutely aware of it, and he's been a very active participant. He is at the center of an anti-death penalty campaign, the likes of which California has really not seen for a very long time. This is a very well-orchestrated campaign on his behalf. [bold added]
Well-orchestrated, eh? And he's an "active participant". Does this "publicity" include the threats of domestic unrest? Major criminals order murders from prison. Why not coordinate riots?

Has anyone bothered to ask the simple question of whether Williams (or anyone else for that matter) might be behind these threats of rioting on his behalf? And would not such a threat for the political aim of opposing the death penalty constitute terrorism?


The left should hold violent riots to protest the death penalty no more than the religious right should bomb clinics to protest abortion.

-- CAV


12-12-05: The Resident Egoist notes that Schwartzeneger has denied clemency. For links to the pile of evidence against Williams, go here.


Anonymous said...

"California governor Arnold Schwartzeneger is, as of this writing, weighing clemency for former Crips leader Tookie Williams, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in California."

If that and the promises of rioting surprise you, maybe I should do you one better -- that is, if you already didn't know it: Tookie Williams was actually nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize!

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for pointing that out.

This isn't a huge surprise, given that Yasser Arafat won the prize in 1994.

According to Patterico, this may have been done specifically to save his life, given how easy it is to make such a nomination.

Just barely easier than winning, I'd say. My gut says to look for rioting and a posthumous award if he's executed.


Vigilis said...

R-E and Gus, ever wondered why the US has no equivalent prize based upon substantive merit? It is overdue.

Gus Van Horn said...


Well, we do have one such prize, in the negative. It's called "the death penalty", and it looks like our nominee is going to be awarded tonight.

The more I hear about this guy, the more convinced I am he is about to get what he deserves.