I'm so tookied out. I took a 24-hour break from almost all blogs and from reading the comments on my angry entries last night, trying to cleanse myself of it all. I realize that most of the pain I feel is that the issue for me is totally capital punishment, but others didn't see it as such, instead arguing about whether Williams was a good guy or not - something I thought to be almost totally irrelevant. It's all about whether the government should kill people for me. It's all about whether any human should kill another human unless it is absolutely necessary.
Then, I see so much of my students who are just a bad decision or two away from becoming someone like Tookie; his execution can only do them harm. Today, I watched fifty of our roughest kids gather around a crackly radio to hear Williams's last interview. Some were crying. Others had their heads in their hands. The message they get from all this is, again, that despair triumphs over hope. Excepting the value of all human life, my only use for Tookie Williams was as a symbol, and now that's gone. It sucks. I can't believe that I live in a country where murder is legalized, where people can actually agree with this sort of sentence and see it carried out.
I have no use for dialoguing about this issue, because if you believe the death penalty is appropriate, I simply have no use for your opinion on the matter. That's harsh, but, no, I don't respect your support of it. I think it's deeply, deeply wrong. So be it.
I hope the celebrities who wasted their time trying to prove Williams's innocence will now do something productive, like work on an end to the death penalty in the state of California. Then they can move on to Maryland, and then Texas, and then in the other states arcane enough to have that punishment. I hope the victims' families might find salvage some peace from Williams's death, even if that peace is a hollow one built upon the death of another. I hope that his death will teach young people something, but I think his spared life would have taught them much more. And I hope the country abolishes this practice within my lifetime.
And that's all I have to say about that. For now.
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