Just the facts, ma'am.
Stanley "Tookie" Williams was convicted of four murders by a jury of his peers and sentenced to die. In addition, and this is not considered a crime, he founded a gang knowns as the Crips. The Crips gang then became one of the most notorious gangs ever, for its violence and other illegal activity. So, let's do some math. Tookie was convicted of murder--he took four lives. How many Crips members died in clashes with the Bloods? How many young men went down the path to self-destruction and never came back? These were his followers. But their lives were no less valuable than yours and mine--they just happened to choose the WRONG role model... a mistake for which they paid with their lives.
They were murdered just as surely as the four Tookie killed!
I firmly believe that Tookie must be held accountable for these lives lost, as well as the ones we KNOW he destroyed. Sure, he had a "change of heart" while on Death Row, and used his time there to speak out against what he had done and what the Crips are still doing today. He wrote books and became a "born-again" activist AGAINST gang activity. But the damage was done! And the jury has handed down a conviction and a sentence of death. While we may admire the fact that he now has the courage to speak out strongly against gang-related activity, we must not trivialize the jury's duty and decision by setting it aside. I believe the sentence being carried out as it was handed down will send a far more powerful message to young people contemplating joining the ranks of the criminally minded than sparing the life of a former comrade.
Talk is cheap. Let's have some action.
Rest in Peace, Tookie.