My television was out for over a month after Hurricane Wilma (because of a blown-over dish), so I hadn't seen much of the news until vacation last week. The big cause célèbre (literally) seems to be that of one Stanley "Tookie" Williams, quadruple (at least) murderer and co-founder of the deadly Crips street gang, who is due to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow in California.
When I first saw the veritable who's who of leftist talent lined up in support of "Tookie," including usual suspects Mike Farrell, Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, Tom Hayden, and Bianca Jagger, I thought "Wow, with a lineup like that behind him, he must've killed a cop or something."
Imagine my surprise to find out that they're supporting him even though he didn't kill a cop--only four regular people, including one motel-owning couple and their daughter. Other than the fact that he failed to kill a cop, he's just the kind of felon the Left loves (see Jack Henry Abbott, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Huey Newton, etc., etc., ad nauseum), wildly violent but dangerous and attractive for a crowd that sees common street thuggery as "authentic" compared to their own lives of plastic hypocrisy.
The celebrities who are supporting "Tookie" say he has been rehabilitated (despite the fact that he still denies the crimes to begin with), as evidenced by the fact that....he writes children's books against violence. That's nice and all, and I'm sure Tookie is a real wordsmith. But this view overlooks the simple fact that it's not about rehabilitation. The Left loves its romantic notions of rehabilitating and redeeming hardened criminals, but it ignores the harsh reality, which is that the vast majority of these guys don't change. And even if they did, it doesn't alter the legal situation, because the death penalty serves a valuable punitive function and is perfectly legitimate regardless of supposed deterrent value, subjective change in the accused, or any other ancillary benefit.
Karla Faye Tucker was put to death in Texas in 1998 for a grisly pickax double murder--despite a jailhouse conversion that led her to deep remorse and repentance for her crimes. Her internal change was heartwarming and (to my eyes, at least) authentic. But it didn't spare her from the just penalty for her crime, nor should it have (misguided appeals from the likes of Pat Robertson aside). Then-governor George W. Bush rightly allowed Tucker's justly-imposed sentence to be carried out, because her subsequent remorse (something Williams lacks, incidentally) did not change the fact of what she had done, nor did it bring her victims back.
If Arnold Schwarzenegger does the right thing and does not allow himself to be cowed by the veiled threats of rioting that leaders of the black community are putting out there (a fact that ought to infuriate black people against their supposed leaders--I mean, think about that--it's assumed that they'll riot in the streets if the governor doesn't grant clemency to a convicted murderer, and rather than being horrified, many actually seem to embrace that implication!) justice will be served sometime tomorrow when the poison begins to flow into the veins of Stanley Williams--though his death will be much more peacful and pain-free than that of his known victims.
(UPDATE: Gov. Schwarzenegger [that's still the oddest thing I ever find myself writing] has denied clemency, and Williams will likely be executed in a few hours. We'll see what happens after that. The fact that rioting can even be reasonably anticipated ought to be an intense embarassment for all involved--though it's not, oddly enough.)