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Tookie Williams' timeout
Union Leader ^ | Kathleen Parker

Posted on 12/03/2005 5:52:39 PM PST by bikepacker67

THE celebrity rush to save the life of convicted murderer and gang founder Tookie Williams may be the best argument yet for eliminating the death penalty. Dead, he's a martyr; alive and confined for life, he's just another nobody.

I have no wish to further elevate Williams in the public eye, but the circus surrounding his Dec. 13 execution date forces reflection.

First my bias and other disclaimers: I'm a relatively recent convert from the slow-gas-leak solution to death row crowding to a reluctant capital punishment opponent. I oppose the death penalty for one reason: The state makes mistakes, and one innocent murdered by the state is too many.

Do I think Tookie is innocent of killing four people? No, I don't. All appeals to higher courts, including the reliably liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, confirm that his trial was fair and his verdict just.

Does he deserve to live? My emotions say "no." My reason skips to a different question, one that National Journal White House correspondent Carl Cannon posed in the National Review (June 19, 2000) article that helped shift my thinking:

"The right question to ask is not whether capital punishment is an appropriate — or a moral — response to murders," Cannon wrote. "It is whether the government should be in the business of executing people convicted of murder knowing to a certainty that some of them are innocent."

That certainty has been established by DNA tests showing that many death row inmates did not commit the crimes for which they were convicted. Case closed.

The painful part of this position is that we who oppose capital punishment on these grounds have to breathe the same air as the celebrities, political panderers and other hankie-twisters who materialize every time a "Tookie" runs out of options and faces a far more humane death than that which he delivered to others.

To refresh your memory, Tookie — who founded the notoriously vicious Los Angeles gang the Crips — was convicted of killing four people during a murder-and-robbery spree in 1979 that netted him roughly $250.

His first victim was Albert Owens, a store clerk in Whittier, whom Tookie murdered to eliminate witnesses and "because he was white." The others were an elderly Chinese couple and their daughter, whom Williams referred to as "Buddha-heads." All were shot at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun. Williams' defenders insist he is reformed and point to children's books he has written in prison urging kids to stay away from gangs. They also point to his 1997 statement apologizing for his role in glamorizing gang life, though he never apologized for his crimes.

The usual suspects have mobilized on his behalf, including Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, Jesse Jackson, Snoop Dogg (a fellow former Crip),'60s radical Tom Hayden and Mario Cuomo.

Perhaps some of these celebrities share the same concerns I've expressed. But others, including an activist visiting California schools in recent days to enlist children in a "Save Tookie" campaign, make it difficult to steady one's hands and stick to one's convictions.

Stefanie Faucher, projects director for the grass-roots group Death Penalty Focus, stopped at an Oakland high school, where she told students there was little evidence to convict Williams, despite what all those courts and judges had to say. Faucher left with 29 letters petitioning the governor for clemency.

It seems clear that the courts have done their job and that Williams is guilty. But it is also abundantly clear that the dramas surrounding such executions grant celebrity status to the least deserving among us.

Our first principle should be never to kill an innocent person, and thus err on the side of life. We thus liberate ourselves from involuntary servitude as audience to those for whom death row has become a stage.

Finally, killers such as Tookie Williams, condemned to life without parole, vanish into the hell of obscurity where they belong.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: deathrow; hollywoodleft; kathleenparker; stanleywilliams; tookie; tookiewilliams
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1 posted on 12/03/2005 5:52:39 PM PST by bikepacker67
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To: bikepacker67

"Dead, he's a martyr"

Nope, he's just a dead piece of human fecal matter.


2 posted on 12/03/2005 5:55:06 PM PST by Lancer_N3502A
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To: bikepacker67
An excellent article that articulates my position much better than I could have.

I'm absolutely against the death penalty - unless it is applied by an individual protecting his life, liberty, or property. The state, on the other hand, should not be in the business of taking ones life. The state is too fallible and errors do occur; one innocent person being put to death by the state is too many!

3 posted on 12/03/2005 6:00:01 PM PST by al_again
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To: bikepacker67
Dead, he's a martyr

So let him be a martyr. He'll still be dead.

4 posted on 12/03/2005 6:00:33 PM PST by SIDENET ("IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!")
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To: bikepacker67
Our first principle should be never to kill an innocent person, and thus err on the side of life.
Do I think Tookie is innocent of killing four people? No, I don't.

Case closed.

5 posted on 12/03/2005 6:00:43 PM PST by SouthTexas (What part of NO don't you understand?)
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To: bikepacker67
"Dead, he's a martyr"

Dead, Justice and Judgment are appeased.

6 posted on 12/03/2005 6:02:40 PM PST by freedom9 (Be good for goodness sake.)
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To: bikepacker67
...Dead, he's a martyr...

A martyr for what?

Dead, he's dead. The "celebrities" will forget all about him and go on to their next "cause celeb".

7 posted on 12/03/2005 6:03:09 PM PST by FReepaholic (Admitted FReepaholic since 1998.)
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To: bikepacker67

Nice theorizing from Ms. Parker, whose writing I always enjoy, but as for Tookie, let him fry. Not just for the murders committed by his own hand, but for the hundreds, thousands maybe, of murders committed by his gang banger followers.


8 posted on 12/03/2005 6:03:33 PM PST by jocon307
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To: bikepacker67

"Life without Parole" can always be commuted by some about to be indicited governor hoping to taint the jury pool. Death on the other hand is permanant at least in this life. If Tookie has a clemency request, he will have an opportunity to present it in the next life.


9 posted on 12/03/2005 6:04:12 PM PST by NavVet (“Benedict Arnold was wounded in battle fighting for America, but no one remembers him for that.”)
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To: bikepacker67
I love Kathleen Parker, but she's way off the mark here. The death penalty is the cold, impartial voice of a legalist society saying, "what you have done is so inexcusable that you no longer deserve to live among us". The voices of criminal attorneys and celebrities notwithstanding.
10 posted on 12/03/2005 6:04:43 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: bikepacker67
Be careful, Ms. Parker. You may want to listen to Dennis Prager. You are dipping your hands into innocent blood here.

Justice dictates that since this man callously shed the blood of others, his blood must be shed by man as well.

Innocent blood, even if it's by proxy, is an indelible stain.


11 posted on 12/03/2005 6:05:20 PM PST by rdb3 (I have named my greatest pain, and it's name is Leftism.)
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To: bikepacker67

I read an article once about a "judge" sentencing a murderer to "Life in prison without parole for 20 years." ROTFLMAO! What the heck does that mean?


12 posted on 12/03/2005 6:12:55 PM PST by FlingWingFlyer (It's no coincidence that the Democrat mascot is a jackass.)
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To: rdb3

With the exceptions of sedition and espionage, I really don't think the state has any business killing citizens. That said, as long as we have a criminal justice system that allows thugs and murderers to write books, hold interviews and "profit" (not just in a monetary sense) from their crimes, maybe it's the only viable alternative at this time.


13 posted on 12/03/2005 6:17:25 PM PST by jess35
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To: bikepacker67

I've got no problem with clemency, provided there are certain conditions.

#1 he is placed into a cell without windows or views into the hallways.

#2 he is given zero recreation time outside the cell.

#3 he is not given any food, again.


14 posted on 12/03/2005 6:17:51 PM PST by mcg2000 (New Orleans: The city that declared Jihad against The Red Cross.)
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To: bikepacker67
I oppose the death penalty for one reason: The state makes mistakes, and one innocent murdered by the state is too many.

I oppose driving, because one road death is too many.

15 posted on 12/03/2005 6:18:47 PM PST by SteveMcKing ("No empire collapses because of technical reasons. They collapse because they are unnatural.")
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To: SteveMcKing

The death sentence IS a deterrent...I don't care what any freakin university study tells us...The bank robber, WILLIE SUTTON himself told me to my face that the only reason he didn't kill anyone is because he knew he would be killed by the death penalty. So there you have it.


16 posted on 12/03/2005 6:21:44 PM PST by Hildy (Keyboard warrior princess - typing away for truth, justice and the American way!)
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To: mcg2000
"I've got no problem with clemency, provided there are certain conditions."

Surely his grovelling victims would have loved those options too, given the choice he forced upon them - their sudden terrified deaths without mercy.

17 posted on 12/03/2005 6:22:02 PM PST by SteveMcKing ("No empire collapses because of technical reasons. They collapse because they are unnatural.")
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To: bikepacker67
No, just kill the SOB.

Then, the ensuing race riot will drive voters away from the Democrats.
18 posted on 12/03/2005 6:23:22 PM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Hildy
All arguments for the death penalty are secondary to the primary reason:

However difficult to face, it is the right thing that must be done.

19 posted on 12/03/2005 6:24:50 PM PST by SteveMcKing ("No empire collapses because of technical reasons. They collapse because they are unnatural.")
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To: bikepacker67

This man deserves his fate. He and his prodigies have destroyed thousands of lives. They have turned the streets of LA into killing fields and have shown no remorse for their carnage. The death penalty exists in this nation for men like this. To say that we should end capital punishment because someone innocent might be put to death is fine. Lets debate it after they bury this piece of garbage.


20 posted on 12/03/2005 6:26:40 PM PST by SunKingMCD
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To: bikepacker67

Me, I wouldn't mind life without parole for trash like this, but only if:

(1) They're thrown into an Alcatraz-like hole with only other lifers there. We could reopen Alcatraz and build others in similarly impossible-to-escape-from places (I'm thinking Aleutian islands, or perhaps Kahoolawe in Hawaii).

(2) NO contact with the outside world (you go there, you don't come out except in a pine box and you'll be utterly forgotten when you do).


21 posted on 12/03/2005 6:27:03 PM PST by decal (Mother Nature and Real Life are conservatives; the Progs have never figured this out.)
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To: bikepacker67

"Our first principle should be never to kill an innocent person"

In this case an innocent will not be executed, he is guilty by his own admission.


22 posted on 12/03/2005 6:27:50 PM PST by Amish with an attitude (An armed society is a polite society)
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To: bikepacker67

The photo of the young victim is especially disturbing. she was shot at near point blank range (with bb "birdshot") in her left cheek. She experienced substantial gross para-mortem and post-mortem swelling.

I will never be able to wipe that image from my mind, so grotesque are the wounds.


23 posted on 12/03/2005 6:31:55 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Lancer_N3502A

The author makes a valid point, but what if the opposite of his fears are true, i.e. we have conclusive DNA, eyewitness and video evidence? Heck, what if the killer confesses? Then, the author should concede the death penalty is just. He wouldn't though.


24 posted on 12/03/2005 6:32:01 PM PST by Treeless Branch
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To: bikepacker67
Dead, he's a martyr; alive and confined for life, he's just another nobody.

Incorrect. 18 months after he's dead, few if anyone will even remember Stanley Williams.

I have no wish to further elevate Williams in the public eye, but the circus surrounding his Dec. 13 execution date forces reflection

The only circus I have seen are a few fools and black racist that speak out in support of a cold blooded murderer.

25 posted on 12/03/2005 6:33:15 PM PST by Jigsaw John
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To: bikepacker67

Execute him, he won't be a martyr for long...


26 posted on 12/03/2005 6:34:18 PM PST by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys-Reagan and Bush)
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To: SteveMcKing

"I've got no problem with clemency, provided there are certain conditions."

Surely his grovelling victims would have loved those options too, given the choice he forced upon them - their sudden terrified deaths without mercy.

-- nice editorial job! You must be a sufferer of ADD!! LOL


27 posted on 12/03/2005 6:42:17 PM PST by mcg2000 (New Orleans: The city that declared Jihad against The Red Cross.)
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To: bikepacker67

A society without the death penalty is opening itself up for vigilanteeism and personal revenge.


28 posted on 12/03/2005 6:42:52 PM PST by eleni121 ('Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!' (Julian the Apostate))
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To: decal

Actually, I like that idea. And - no cells either. Just a big wall around it, and it's all general pop. You can be the king, or the b***h for the stay, it's up to you. But hell never the less.


29 posted on 12/03/2005 6:43:25 PM PST by farlander
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To: decal
Kahoolawe in Hawaii

Let them finish the bomb disposal then send them to the farthest islet in the Aleutians.

30 posted on 12/03/2005 6:44:00 PM PST by 1066AD
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To: mcg2000

LOL


31 posted on 12/03/2005 6:44:06 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: SIDENET

Exactly.


32 posted on 12/03/2005 6:44:53 PM PST by Obadiah
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To: bikepacker67

"Dead, he's a martyr"

I disagree. Dead, he's yesterday's news and soon forgotten. And good riddance.


33 posted on 12/03/2005 6:44:58 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: SIDENET
Like Truman said when he was asked about the furor that would ensue when he correctly fired MacArthur for insubordination -- "In two weeks only a couple of little old ladies in tennis shoes will even care".

They will sputter and moan for a day or so and then nobody will give a rats ass.

34 posted on 12/03/2005 6:59:02 PM PST by RJS1950 (The rats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: bikepacker67
THE celebrity rush to save the life of convicted murderer and gang founder Tookie Williams may be the best argument yet for eliminating the death penalty. Dead, he's a martyr; alive and confined for life, he's just another nobody.

Au contrare....

The courts of law have spoken and have concluded that this animal is not deserving of life. Who the hell do the 'celebrities' think they are to oppose our court system? BTW, the 'ditch diggers union' are in favor of carrying out Tooskie's execution?

Dead, Tookie may be a martyr but he will be, in fact, dead as the court has ordered. If he is granted clemency as the result of these goofy 'celebrities', he will be alive, a living martyr, available for escape, possible parole, and a trophy for the celebrities.

IMHO, the only thing that will be wrong with his execution in 10 days is that one of the family members of any of his victims will not get a chance to flip the switch.

Flex those muscles Tookie, I believe that will impress your Maker.......

35 posted on 12/03/2005 7:04:01 PM PST by eeriegeno
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To: bikepacker67
These arguments against the death penalty are that mistakes will be made and the state cannot put someone to death who is innocent without us all falling into complete despair. And essentially that the death penalty is an anachronistic barbarism and that as an evolved and enlightened society, we should progress to more humane treatment of those who torture, rape and murder children, along with those who order and/or carry out executions, commit mass murder, rob and then murder, and those who murder as part of an organized criminal activity or act of terrorism. There are a number of secondary arguments around the theme that the death penalty cannot be fairly applied [race, class, etc]. Those arguments are okay, and you can add to it those who denounce capital punishment as state sanctioned murder. Some also take exception with the "free Mumia" crowd for the singularity of their cause when it comes to Tookie, suggesting that his celebrity status should not allow him to avoid the death penalty while all the others who have no such support must die.

In our democratic system, the majority of voters have decided that they disagree with these assumptions. We [those of us in the majority] want the death penalty for a variety of reasonable assumptions that we can also make. People who are executed pose no further threat to society [both those incarcerated and those guarding them] as well as the rest of us on the outside, should they escape or, as might be argued in the case of gang-leaders, terrorists and mobsters, continue to conduct and direct organized criminal activity from within the prison system. The death penalty can also help dissipate our [the majority] collective rage at the most heinous of crimes committed against us. There is also the argument that the death penalty provides closure for the victims family and friends. They no longer have to live with the ever-present reality that the individual who has caused them such grief is enjoying [despite their incarceration] visits with family, entertainment [like reading a novel or watching a TV program], and possibly gratifying themselves with memories of their crimes. If you question this last assumption, I would willingly accept clemency when it was the wish of the family of the victim[s].

I won't use the argument of deterrence that the death penalty presents. Liberals have effectively diminished the deterrent value of the death penalty by imposing a system of endless appeals and delays that have impeded the deterrent impact that swift and sure implementation would most certainly deliver. In many ways those who share anti-death penalty assumptions have reduced the death penalty process to a seemingly never-ending Kabuki of lawyers, appeals, retrials, stays and injunctions. And now, when all these fail we have celebrities appealing for clemency.
36 posted on 12/03/2005 7:05:45 PM PST by quinhon6869
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To: bikepacker67

Let him die.


37 posted on 12/03/2005 7:06:55 PM PST by freekitty
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To: NavVet

Remember ted bundy, convicted and admitted to at least 28 murders, was in prison in colarado, for life, double, triple life when he ESCAPED and murdered at least another DOZEN women. If the crying, bleeding heart liberals would have pulled the plug on teddy boy, he never would have had the opportunity to kill more INNOCENT women. Who speaks for them?


38 posted on 12/03/2005 7:07:27 PM PST by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: bikepacker67

I'd just love to hear her if one of her family members were killed by Tookie.

I know what we should do. Line up all the surviving relatives, and let the motherf*cker loose.


39 posted on 12/03/2005 7:22:25 PM PST by TheSpottedOwl ("The Less You Have...The More They'll Take"- bf)
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To: bikepacker67

Make him a martyr. Let him represent the Hollywood mindset.


40 posted on 12/03/2005 7:30:47 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: FlingWingFlyer

It means he'll be on the street in 20 years or less.


41 posted on 12/03/2005 7:32:13 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: al_again

The same logic applies to life in prison without parole, or even 1 year in prison. What business of the state is it to imprison someone who is potentially innocent?

Sorry, I don't buy it. Yes, the state makes mistakes, due to lying witnesses or misguided prosecutors. There are evils in our society, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore justice, or sacrifice justice because someone may, MAY die due to the wrongful acts of another.

I oppose the death penalty too, and I have a recipe for avoiding it: don't commit pre-meditated murder, and you are certain to avoid it.


42 posted on 12/03/2005 7:32:22 PM PST by NCLaw441
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To: All
We need to turn San Clemente Island into a Devils Island where the scumbag criminals are sent.
Never to be heard from again.
No visitors. no Mail, No electricity.
Feed them a single cheese sandwich and a orange everyday.

BTW Die Tookie Die
43 posted on 12/03/2005 7:33:54 PM PST by Nalu
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To: NCLaw441

Let's start with the obvious - one is reversible, one isn't.


44 posted on 12/03/2005 7:35:30 PM PST by al_again
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To: al_again

You said: Let's start with the obvious - one is reversible, one isn't.
***
How can one reverse a wrongful imprisonment? Can you return that time to the person? If you have lost part of your life, can the state return it to you? No. Yet we don't hear many arguments about ending imprisonment. The "one innocent life" argument sounds compelling, but what about innocent lives lost due to the failure to do justice? I agree there are no perfect solutions, but the country has spoken, through its people.


45 posted on 12/03/2005 7:41:10 PM PST by NCLaw441
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To: bikepacker67

Ms. Parker is wrong. Alive, he's a danger to other inmates, guards, and anyone who gets in his way if he tries to escape - he knows he'll be spending the rest of his life in prison, and has no reason not to kill. Dead, he's only a danger to worms who get sick eating his foul carcass.*

[*No worms were harmed in the making of this rant.]


46 posted on 12/03/2005 7:48:12 PM PST by Slings and Arrows (Note for visitors at Arafat's grave - first dance, THEN pee.)
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To: NavVet
You hit the nail... on the head..

As long as he's alive, some radical, Leftist Liberal Governor or President can always pardon him or commute his sentence to "time served", or some such nonsense..

Only a properly carried out death penalty will guarantee this piece of filth never violates another human being again..

47 posted on 12/03/2005 8:22:08 PM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: NCLaw441
I agree there are no perfect solutions, but the country has spoken, through its people

Very true - but I think there is a definitive shift occurring. I see people recognizing the inherent weaknesses in our justice system and taking steps to correct them. You see CCW laws being passed nearly everywhere. Even better, right to defend laws are starting to come into play.

Limit the power of the state and increase the rights of the citizens to defend.

I think the people will speak again and this time it will be against the death penalty.

48 posted on 12/03/2005 8:37:13 PM PST by al_again
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To: bikepacker67
Dead, he's a martyr; alive and confined for life, he's just another nobody.

No. Dead, he's a fading memory. Alive and confined for life, he's only confined until the same reprobates who saved him from execution can convince some moron judge that he should be released. ALive, he's still wasting valuable air and justice is still not served. Alive, he's an insult to every Californian who demanded a death penalty be made into law.

This piece of garbage should die; no amount of inverse reasoning or clever counter-argument should change that.

49 posted on 12/03/2005 8:39:30 PM PST by IronJack
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To: bikepacker67

One major problem with life imprisonment is that the killer is able to kill again. Execution is the only way to protect society.


50 posted on 12/03/2005 8:45:29 PM PST by TheDon (The Democratic Party is the party of TREASON!)
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