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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Tough and Brave.


I am no fan of the death penalty per se.  I feel that, in many cases, being gently lulled off to sleep with an anesthetic, and then gently relieved of one’s life is nowhere near enough punishment for many of this society’s heinous criminals.  I also think that a system that has so many loopholes that victims’ families need to wait as long as a quarter of a century for justice is not efficiently deterring criminals with the threat of capital punishment.  That said, I commend the honorable Arnold Schwartzenegger, governor of California.  He earned his title, and showed a great deal of bravery and courage, when he denied clemency to Stanley Williams for four particularly brutal murders in early 1979.  Governor Schwartzenegger has been under intense pressure from those in his former industry -- entertainment -- to follow the last actor-turned-governor, Ronald Reagan, and grant Williams clemency.


"Stanley Williams is now dead.  He was legally executed for four heinous murders."


Stanley Williams is now dead.  He was legally executed for four heinous murders.  Hollywood said that Williams was "redeemed" because he, a co-founder of the notoriously bloody Crips streetgang, had written a series of children’s books decrying gang life.  However, he maintained, against a gigantic mountain of evidence, his innocence of these murders.  This evidently shocked Governor Schwartzenegger, who took pains, in a detailed denial statement, to note the evidence of Williams’ guilt, his dedication of his 1998 book to known advocated of violence, and most of all, his callous laughter at one of his victim’s death spasms.  Hollywood notwithstanding, the Governor of California stood up and got out of the way of the execution.

Personally, were I the governor of California, I would wonder aloud if the better choice would be to send Williams to spend the rest of his days in an "ultra max" prison, which places inmates into a 23-hour-per-day lockdown.  The punishment value of ultra max seems appropriate for all of those who murder.  If you take a life, you live the rest of yours in a living hell.  Or, as the duly elected Governor of California decided to allow happen, you forfeit your life, as a jury decided many, many years ago. 


"Stanley Williams lived longer after his murders than he lived before them.  This is the problem.  How is it that a man is 25 years old when he commits a murder, and spends 26 years waiting for his punishment?"


Stanley Williams lived longer after his murders than he lived before them.  This is the problem.  How is it that a man is 25 years old when he commits a murder, and spends 26 years waiting for his punishment?  This needs to be addressed.  Not because I think that there never should be another execution again.  Again, my concerns are over inordinate appeal delays, the lack of punishment value for condemned prisoners, and to a lesser extent with the advent of DNA evidence, the accidental execution of an innocent.  We know that Stanley Williams contrary to the shouts of his supporters, did not die innocent of these crimes.

Governor Schwartzenegger -- Not Arnold or Terminator or governator or R-Nold; he has earned respite from the nicknames -- stood against the Hollywood and media types and looked at the evidence.  He looked at Williams’ plans to escape by blowing up a van and killing the guards inside, in Williams’ own handwriting.  He looked at Williams’ refusal to admit to what we already know, to that which a legion of courts over a quarter-century repeatedly affirmed.  And that refusal apparently was Williams’ ticket to eternity.


"If one carefully reads Governor Schwartzenegger’s statement, it implied that, if Stanley Williams admitted his murders, if he showed the ’redemption’ he claimed was real by this one act, Mr. Williams might be alive today."


If one carefully reads Governor Schwartzenegger’s statement, it implied that, if Stanley Williams admitted his murders, if he showed the "redemption" he claimed was real by this one act, Mr. Williams might be alive today.  Others would have had Governor Schwartzenegger withhold clemency if he also were to give evidence on the Crips.  That is a great idea.  However, the threshold issue for the governor was, and should have been, responsibility.  This is what Hollywood and the extreme left miss out on.

Stanley Williams’ own stubborn refusal to admit what we all know happened apparently cost him his life.  No amount of Hollywood pressure wavered the Honorable Arnold Schwartzenegger, Governor of California.  He bravely withstood the assaults, and he acted properly in what he did.  He will get Hollywood heat for a while.  But the real people of California will see a principled man, who carefully wrestled with this issue, and then acted well.

Congratulations to the Governor of California for his bravery.