Tookie Execution OK'd by ArnoldSo you've heard the controversial news about Tookie Williams. He's to be executed later today in this contraption at San Quentin Prison -->
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided not to commute Tookie's sentence to a life behind bars, opining that the condemned man had not shown sufficient remorse or redemption. I find this utterly predictable, since I've watched a few of Arnold's movies, and I've read interviews with this Conservative Republican man of "values". His entire career has been devoted to a show of brute power, where justice comes from the barrel of a gun or a slashing sword. Might is right -->
Without any hint of irony, Gov Schwarzenegger official statement says, "that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems." Obviously "he" in this quote refers to Tookie, yet the statement applies to Gov Schwarzenegger as well. In announcing this very same text, the Gov commits an act of fatal violence "as a legitimate means to address societal problems". It relegates the specific problem to a mere footnote added as an afterthought to the corrected edition later:
"Breaking the cycle of hopelessness and gang violence is the responsibility of us all, not just the most affected African-American or inner city communities. It is important to work together with respect, understanding and patience if we are to one day succeed." [footnote 6 on page 4]
This is technically a performative contradiction of the most destructive kind. I would not trust the author of that hypocritical text with my family, nor would I move into the same neighborhood where he rules.
In stark and revealing contrast, here's what Tookie actually wrote for young kids in the ghetto:
"As a teenager, I didn't know the meaning of power. I thought that by using violence to scare people, I was proving that I had a lot of power. But when you use your power to make someone do something they don't want to do, or to hurt someone, you are abusing your power. The people you hurt will someday hurt you. They may call your parents to tell them the bad things you've done. They may call the police and have you arrested. They may even use a weapon on you."
--from Gangs and the Abuse of Power
"Since I had big muscles and a big reputation, I thought no one could hurt me. But my big muscles and big reputation couldn't stop the bullets that a gang member fired at me one day. Doctors said I would never walk again. It took a long time, but I can walk now. I don't want you to get shot too. That's why I'm telling you my story. You can learn from my mistakes."
--from Gangs and Weapons
It is entirely probable that Arnold didn't comprehend that these words are about himself also.