to be or not to be

I don't watch the news very often, because frankly, it's totally depressing. The news industry is bound and determined to keep the citizens of this country afraid and appeal to the lowest common denominator..the same people who just love reality tv. "If it bleeds it leads" is not the moniker of an institution that I can have any respect for. I do, however, read a lot of blogs, and occasionally, I am enlightened to a story that the rest of the country is apparently up in arms about while I have been living under a rock. So was the case with Stanley Williams, a founder of the Crips gang, who has been sentenced to death by lethal injection tonight at midnight. Since being imprisoned, nearly 25 years ago, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work while incarcerated, writing books denouncing his former acts and trying to keep kids out of gangs. Does that make it ok that he killed innocent people and engaged in what I'm sure were heinous acts of violence? Of course not. I do think it says something, though, that someone with that kind of gang influence was put away with no possibility of ever getting out of prison, and instead of choosing to rule the gangs in his hovel behind bars, he completely turned his life around. Here is just one of the reasons I find it hard to embrace the death penalty. This isn't a case of mistaken identity..those cases are horrible and I'm so glad that DNA has enable scores of innocent men to be freed. This is a case of someone who consciously chose to do something worthy in the remaining years of his life. It's possible that he has saved many young people from a similar fate through the work he's done, and I think it's so very sad that we live in a world where that just doesn't count very much. We've all done stupid things as kids. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very lovely suburban town where things like that just didn't happen. Our white picket fences were not exposed to gang colors. Not everyone is so fortunate. I hope that someday, we all can be, and until then, we can learn to recognize the strides people make in bettering themselves and others, regardless of past trespasses.


sitboaf said...

Yes, it is sad that he should die. But, just as Mr. Williams cannot undo his violent and horrible past, we should not undo all the great work he has accomplished since by continually railing against the decision of the courts - the courts will never help me sleep at night.
Stanley would probably want us to move forward, be positive, and challenge others to continue his work.