Schwartzenegger Needs to Ignore the Threats of the Left
Stanley Tookie Williams may have awoken to his last sunrise. He is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. tonight/tomorrow morning. And California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger has gone down the very unnecessary and frankly dangerous path of seriously entertaining the matter of clemency. And in so doing, the Governor has made matters significantly worse than they needed to be.
The reasons for granting or denying same have already been set forth. And I think that, in a strange twist, Tookie's greatest liability may be his most vociferous defenders. It is no credit to anyone that a gaggle of motley celebrities--some of whom are no more than wealthy versions of Williams--comes out to his defense, and to some degree agitates publicly that he be spared with the veiled threat of civil unrest as the consequence. Which makes Tookie's alleged penitence regarding his involvement in gang violence a bit suspect to say the least.
Had Schwartzenegger gone silent on the issue, the execution would have happened as a function of the bureaucracy with the usual whining and complaining from the pro crime crowd (and to be fair, from others of good conscience who are hard on crime but feel that the death penalty is improper). But giving this issue unneeded consideration has not just caused agitation regarding the death penalty, but more to the point, has added some legitimacy to the aforementioned hoodlum-ism that underpins much of this effort to spare one who would not spare the defenseless and would not act to disarm a gang.
And if he grants clemency, he sets a precedent that emotional appeals and threats of violence from gangs and the entertainment industry can sway the law.
He should never have put his hand on this Pandora's Box. But now it's open. I only hope that the Governor follows the precedent of his deposed predecessor, Gray Davis, who, while one of the least effective governors in state history, refused to grant clemency in any death penalty case.