Now that Governor Schwarzenegger has denied clemency for convicted gang killer Tookie Williams, word in the press is that there may be some rioting in protest. At least from the sanctity of my local Starbucks full of more than a dozen white folks, like myself, everything appears calm... maybe because we're all placated by the equally white iPods that isolate us from the outside world. Of course, there could be a few people listening to 2Pac in our midst, sleeper cells of rioters waiting for a signal before they storm the counter and start looting the cranberry bliss bars and holiday blend bags of coffee.
I can't say its a shame that Tookie Williams is going to be executed. What is a shame is the continued use of executions in this country, considering the inexcusably high rate of death row criminals who are found to have been wrongly prosecuted. This is a topic death penalty proponents always dismiss and ignore - they don't want to admit that a few dead innocents is worth being able to exact vengeance on others. While some people certainly don't deserve to live, the fear of the death penalty is not a deterrant - people who are desperate to kill will do so, whether they believe they could be sent to prison or the electric chair (or gas chamber, or whatever). If anything, the only benefit of the death penalty is as a threat to coerce testimonies from accomplices after the fact... and closure for the victims families. But in no way does revenge make up for state sponsored murder of people who could be, and have been, innocent.
Now, I must pay attention to the most gorgeous MILF I've ever seen who's just sat one table ahead of me. She looks ready to riot.