“Tookie” Williams’ Violent Heros
Their claim was that, during more than two decades on death row, “Tookie” had rehabilitated himself, as shown by his having written children’s books warning youth away from gang violence.
When California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger reviewed the case, he didn’t buy the claim that Williams was really rehabilitated.
The following is from Schwarzenegger’s official statement denying clemency:
The dedication of Williams’ book “Life in Prison” casts significant doubt on his personal redemption. This book was published in 1998, several years after Williams’ claimed redemptive experience. Specifically, the book is dedicated to “Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid, George Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the countless other men, women, and youths who have to endure the hellish oppression of living behind bars.” The mix of individuals on this list is curious. Most have violent pasts and some have been convicted of committing heinous murders, including the killing of law enforcement.And footnote 7 explains the facts about George Jackson:
But the inclusion of George Jackson on this list defies reason and is a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems.7
7George Jackson was a militant activist and prison inmate who founded the violent Black Guerilla Family prison gang. Jackson was charged with the murder of a San Quentin correctional officer. In 1970, Jackson’s brother stormed the courtroom with a machine gun, and along with three inmates, took a judge, the prosecutor and three others hostage in an attempt to leverage his brother’s freedom. Shooting broke out. The prosecutor was paralyzed from a police bullet, and the judge was killed by a close-range blast to his head when the shotgun taped to his throat was fired by one of the accomplices. Jackson’s brother was also killed. Then, three days before trial was to begin in the correctional officer murder case, George Jackson was gunned down in the upper yard at San Quentin Prison in another foiled escape attempt on a day of unparalleled violence in the prison that left three officers and three inmates dead in an earlier riot that reports indicate also involved Jackson.The trendy leftists’ reaction to the Williams case harks back to the late 60s when the fashionable crowd tingled with pleasure at the idea of militant violent black males taking revenge on white America for centuries of oppression and injustice.
The ambiance of this milieu was captured by Tom Wolfe in his classic essay “Radical Chic.”
Of course, the trendy types were not volunteering themselves to be victims of black militant rage. They were volunteering other people: prison guards, law enforcement officers, judges.
And, when push came to shove, they didn’t really insist that it had to be whites that got killed. Thus most of the victims of the gang violence that Williams instigated have been black.
Just killing people would do.
The Williams case shows that these people have learned little. But happily, Schwarzenegger saw to it that Williams was terminated.