Beware of More “Tookie-ism” and Tokenism

Two capital punishment executions took place in America within the same week. John Nixon, an uncelebrated white man with no political cause, was given a lethal injection in Mississippi, and no one came. Not Hollywood, not Jesse and Al, nor the liberal, politically correct sermonizers. Nixon founded no gangs and wrote no so-called children’s books. He was no one’s political darling. He died, therefore, without fanfare.

Stanley “Tookie” Williams, murderer of four and founder of the brutal Crips gang, was finally executed after numerous appeals and representation by America’s best lawyers and cheerleading from Hollywood’s p.r. machine. Those pushing for commutation of Tookie’s sentence, did so under a proposition that a prisoner showing a change of attitude “better serves society by living than dying” – and maybe serves best if back on the streets instead of in a cell. His avant garde promoters tried to convince us that this “change” was evidenced by Tookie’s writing of “children’s” books and appeals to gang members not to kill each other.

While Williams is gone, the question will no doubt arise next time Hollywood engages in Tookie-ism, i.e., takes as its cause the freeing of yet another anti-establishment murderer, resorting to the “reformation” claim. Their argument, however, entirely misses the point as to why we administer capital punishment. It has nothing to do whether the murderer is otherwise useful, talented, or even nice. It has nothing to do with that person, rather the act committed, the deed. It is not an assessment but the application of Justice.

The principle of justice, meaning equal reciprocity where the punishment fits the crime, is incorporated in the Bible’s assertion of a “life for a life”. Less than that devalues the life of the murdered, just as the execution of a robber for the act of monetary theft is an over-the-top punishment, devaluing life: it is trans-reciprocal and therefore not Just.

Capital punishment does not bring the dead back to life. Instead, it makes a statement to the living. To wit, society so values innocent life that it will take the now-guilty life of he who has murdered the innocent. It demonstrates this concretely by exacting its greatest punishment, even if the murderer is a nice or useful guy and the murdered not so talented or nice yet innocent.

A Hollywood actor should not be freed of a murder sentence simply because as a talented person he can choreograph theatre inside or outside prison. Due Process demands one set of laws regardless of talent or pleasant personality. Talent and personality do not exonerate one for murder and should make no difference when newly discovered after a murder conviction.

No, it is not about whom the murderer is or what he has become. It is about the victim and the victim’s loved ones. As a society, we say to them: We place the highest value on the life of your loved one. How do we show them, and us? No less than a life for a life.

Many liberals mistakenly assert that society’s taking the life of the murderer is no different than that which the murderer himself did. As usual, they are wrong. The difference lies between the taking of a guilty life as opposed to the murder of innocent life. One is murder, the other is killing: two separate categories.

The Bible itself illustrates this distinction by condemning murder while allowing killing in self- defense circumstances. Killing is allowed for the purpose of national defense, personal defense, and against murderers. Capital punishment is society’s collective self-defense against future murders. “Do not assume,” society warns, “that your murder of another will be overlooked or in anyway mitigated.”

There is a difference between innocent life as opposed to guilty life. All life starts out equally, but in the ensuing years a life becomes defined by the actions of that particular person, the holder of that life. In the Judeo-Christian outlook, action is the fundamental measure of a lived life. From our action and conduct flows our innocence or guilt. This is so since mankind is endowed with Free Choice.

Conduct as the hierarchy defining our life is probably the single greatest philosophic divide between today’s liberals and conservatives. Liberal thinking has become lazy, looking at categories instead of the individual’s action. Life is life is life, they say. Taking the murderer’s life is no different than taking the life of the completely innocent.

Disregarding the complete innocence of one and the culpability of the other, they contend capital punishment is as bad as abortion. Worse, they blithely abort the innocent fetus while advocating in behalf of the life of convicted politically-correct murderers. They are impervious to how conduct determines and defines.

Again, liberal categorical thinking results in: George Bush is similar to Saddam Hussein. Why? Because killing is killing is killing. Some equate Bush with Hitler — though not all necessarily in public where they would appear outrageous, but privately among like-minded friends. Though Bush came to rescue the innocent from Saddam and those harming the innocent, the intellectually lazy and moral relativists on the Left choose to recognize no difference.

Those who look to Genesis for God’s definition of man understand how individual conduct is the lynchpin of society. Created by God, man is given free will to choose paths in life, and as an entity infused with divine-like spirit is accountable, and punishable, for actions taken.

While repentance is good for the soul and helpful for the afterlife, it does not resurrect the life of the murdered and spares not the murderer from the hands of earthly justice.

No doubt, Hollywood and the rainbow coalition gang found in Tookie a successor to their previous celebration of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Given Hollywood’s recent immersion in anti-Americanism, these two symbols of anti-establishment, anti-White authority are simply the latest, but not last, props and heroes in their trendy anti-American theatrics. It is Hollywood’s in- your- face war against Joe and Mary America.

Like Leonard Bernstein’s tokenism decades ago with the Black Panthers — some of my favorite revolutionaries are Black — the most insulated and protected among us champion the cause of those whose “righteousness” lay in repudiating “racist” America through acts of mayhem (though not disturbing the jet set in their Malibu mansions). Too bad for John Nixon: his profile was useless to political Hollywood elitists, he was simply a white guy without rage at “racist” America.

The focus on Tookie’s later book writing and involvement in gang “diplomacy” was simply a way for Hollywood to hoodwink the public into commuting the sentence of a man they deep down admired — admired for his radical politics and anti-Americanism, though probably not as a temporary house guest.

Hollywood’s message to fellow traveler Ramsey Clark: Tell your client, Saddam, to pen a few ‘children’s’ books and convince his Baathist brothers to stop fighting amongst themselves. The dividends for Saddam could be life saving.

Posted in ARTICLES, Capital Punishment, Politics and tagged , .
Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Rabbi Spero, who also served as a pulpit rabbi, has been invited to inform policy-makers, candidates, and elected officials in the halls of Congress, and in the Executive, regarding the moral and religious dimensions of policies and legislation under consideration.

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