ED GORDON, host:
As we just discussed in today's Roundtable, Stanley Williams, a convicted murderer and Crips gang co-founder, is scheduled to be executed next week, but a group of protesters, led by some well-known celebrities, is trying to persuade California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare Williams' life. Commentator Joseph C. Phillips questions the message being promoted by the Save Tookie movement.
JOSEPH C. PHILLIPS:
Standing outside the walls of San Quentin prison, rapper Snoop Dogg urged California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency to convicted murderer Stan "Tookie" Williams. Williams, the co-founder of the notorious street gang the Crips, was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1979 slayings of four people. Speaking before a thousand young people and supporters, Snoop lectured the governor, quote, "Stanley `Tookie' Williams is not just a regular old guy, he's an inspirator. His voice needs to be heard," end of quote.
Snoop, Mike Farrell, Danny Glover, Jamie Foxx and the other celebrity voices now raised in support of Williams offer a clear picture of the distorted moral vision of the Hollywood left. It is a vision that finds virtue contemptible and props up homicidal maniacs who write bad children's books as role models for the masses. The argument for commutation of Tookie's sentence centers on all the good work he has done since going to prison. The series of children's books he has written and his work to stop gang violence is proof of his redemption, they say. His death will only serve to rob those youth currently in gangs, or considering joining gangs, of hope.
Now witness that most of his supporters do not claim that Tookie is innocent of his crimes. They're not seeking that Williams be released, only that his sentence be commuted. Williams, however, has never admitted guilt. That little inconsistency suggests the great inspirator is not only an unrepentant murderer, but a liar, as well.
The portrayal of Williams as some pied piper of peace for the gang community also holds very little water. A quick review of book scans shows the Tookie series of books have hardly been blockbusters. At last count, his top seller, "Gangs and Violence," has sold 330 books. Another book, "Gangs and Wanting to Belong," sold exactly two copies. No one is reading his books, least of all his two sons, one of whom is serving time in San Quentin. The other was just arrested on charges of aggravated rape.
Now poor book sales are not reason to send someone to the execution chamber, but then Williams was not convicted of lackluster book sales. He was found guilty of shooting four innocent people in cold blood, a fact his supporters continue to forget. Here again, wealthy celebrities are telling hardworking, law-abiding citizens that the example offered by them is inadequate to save their communities. The models of competence, creativity and virtue that are alive in these neighborhoods is simply insufficient. No matter that hundreds of young people find the strength of character, the hope to resist the gang life, no matter that many of the stars themselves have found the strength to rise out of the tough streets, all that means nothing as compared to the words and example of Tookie Williams.
On Sunday, November 13th, one week before the Save Tookie rally at San Quentin, 14-year-old William Cox and a friend were attending a neighborhood carnival in Los Angeles when they were gunned down by a man who mistook them for rival gang members. Cox, who was not in a gang, was struck in the chest and died at the scene. That is the evil wrought by Stanley Williams. Of course, Snoop and Danny Glover did not hold a rally for William Cox. His death went unnoticed by the Hollywood commissars of compassion. You see, they were too busy trying to save the life of a cold-blooded killer to notice one more young life snuffed out by gang violence. And that tells you all you need to know about the corrupt vision the Hollywood left has for America.
GORDON: Joseph C. Phillips is an actor and syndicated columnist living in Los Angeles.
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