Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I got in my truck about a half hour ago and caught part of Democracy Now on KMUD. They were playing a recording of a witness to an execution. I thought it was live, at first, but came to find out it was a recording of an execution by electrocution of a guy in 1984.

I've always felt executions should be available for viewing on T.V. or other media. I don't understand the supposed outrage when films of executions end up on the internet, as was the case with Saddam Hussein.

Shouldn't people who are part of a society that creates and enforces laws like the death penalty see the end results of laws we've created?

If you're an advocate of the death penalty, perhaps thinking the death penalty has some deterrent effect, wouldn't there be more of a deterrent effect if more people witnessed them?

Maybe not. It could end up like all rest of the violence we perpetrate across the world with so many Americans thinking they're just watching a movie and, perversely, soften the impact of the violence.

Still, I think we should take the chance and make executions public in this country. We need to witness what we're responsible for.


At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FRED SAID: Shouldn't people who are part of a society that creates and enforces laws like the death penalty see the end results of laws we've created?

ANON OFTEN DELETED REPLIED: Whoah Fred, are you arguing for transparent government? Why should executions be the exception to the rule, provided open access when our government marked more than 20 million things top secret last year alone? In our new America things are secret unless there's a really, really good reason to make them public.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

The videos of executions should be made public only if the crime scenes and victim photos are also included so we can view what the convicted criminal is responsible for.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

Hangings always were popular events back in the good old days before TV..

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.

I think the Judge and Jury should be forced to at the very least witness in person these executions. I am all for televising them. Even if the death sentence is acted upon decades after sentencing. If you voted or participated in passing the sentence of death, you should be forced to sit next to the condemned and hear his/her final words in person.

At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:19pm, you're an idiot ! A complete F'ing idiot.

But aside from that I wonder if the DA's office got their m-4 assault rifles yet?

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:19 I like that. We whitewash things that should never be whitewashed.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Rose said...

The violence WE perpetrate, Fred? Like stonings? Honor killings? Videotaped beheadings? Sawing people's heads off while they are still alive? That kind of thing?

Bad as we might be, we are far far better than the guys who do those things, for such little reasons.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the U.S. (even in Texas) it takes a lot to get someone executed. Don't chid yourself and don't try to chid others.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Joel Mielke said...

Opponents of the death penalty have been trying to make executions public for many years.

Witnesses to executions tend to lose their stomach for it.

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, I heard that same Democracy Now broadcast and assumed it was live also. I assumed it was in Texas from the southern accents, but learned that all states have banned electrocution and have gone to lethal injection instead. The broadcast was of supposedly leaked tapes of a Georgia state execution in the 1980's.

First they aired an unbotched electrocution followed by a botched electrocution. I guess to show that death by use of the electric chair is considered cruel and inhumane. It was rather quite technical when listening on the radio. But, your mind's eye could make it as sensational as you wish. And, I think Amy Goodman achieved just that.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are for capitol punishment, some are against. Fine.
But if we live in a state that has decided to use it, it should be public.
I dont think many would "lose their
stomache for it.." not if it were the guy who raped and murdered YOUR little girl. Nope. The mothers and fathers should be allowed to pull the switch.

But that scenario wont happen, not when we dont even have the guts to show the coffins coming home of those who have died in defense of our country. (Might make some people 'lose their stomache' for war, eh?)

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Ekovox wrote, "followed by a botched electrocution.".

I heard Goodman saying a botched one would be next but didn't have time to listen to it. What was the "botch" in the botched execution? Might it have been the one I heard about where a bunch of blood, or some such, gushed out of the guy's eyes?

As an aside, I didn't realize they were talking about an electrocution until the guy was dead and they mentioned they were taking the helmet, or whatever it was called, off of him. The narrator referred to starting "stage 1" then "stage 2" and so forth.

In lethal injections they give three different chemicals and I thought that was what he was referring to until they started disconnecting the guy from the chair.

I also wondered, thinking it was lethal injection, that maybe it was that guy that was scheduled to be executed yesterday whose execution they might be describing. I was somewhat outraged thinking they'd gone ahead and executed him despite the recanting witnesses and all. I guess he got a 90 day reprieve at the last minute though.

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster above with the Cyrillic name that I cannot type on my computer made a very good point.

I agree that if we are going to see video of executions, we should first see the photographic or videographic evidence of the crimes.

When Amy Goodman, the NAACP, and every do-gooder and left-wing twit from the Vatican to Hollywood was calling for their hero, "Tookie", to be spared the death penalty, pictures of his four proven victims were posted on the Internet.

There was something about seeing the dead bodies of the people he had shot to death that fully justified in my mind his execution by the State of California.

Oh, of course, we who wanted him to finally pay the price for his murders were called lots of bad names. The worst name of all, naturally, was "racist." We were racist to want a man who helped establish a murderous criminal gang dead. A gang that had killed more people than anybody could count.

But he wasn't going to be executed for polluting our fair State with his cruel criminal gang. No, he was to be executed for killing three Asian motel operators in California and one white store clerk who begged for his life while "Tookie" laughed and shot him in the back while he lay face-down on the floor. But we, who opposed murder and mayhem, we were the racists.

Yes, Amy Goodman and the Pope told us we the people of California must not execute this "man" and they tried to portray him as innocent or as fully reformed or as somehow deserving to draw one more breath here after all the Evil Deeds he had done.

If Amy Goodman and the Pope can make a hero out of a multiple murderer like "Tookie" then I don't want any part of either of them, or of the countless other conscienceless freaks who unfortunately inhabit this world along with the genuinely good people, of all races and nationalties and political bents and sexual orientations and physical characteristics and educational levels, whom I love.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tookie's guilt was in question. Many people have been executed for crimes they did not commit. The Bush administration is responsible for the deaths of 3,600 military men and women, 1,200 private contractors, and over 650,000 Iraqi men, women ,and children. If we are going to have a death penalty, then, the law should be applied equally to all "conscienceless freaks".

At 7:52 PM, Blogger robash141 said...

"The videos of executions should be made public only if the crime scenes and victim photos are also included so we can view what the convicted criminal is responsible for."

I think Cyrillic boy is a moron who just get a perverted thrill seeing pictures dead and mangled bodies, he doen't care who they might be.

If the death penalty is so rightgeous , why do they have to sneak around in the middle of the night in the most seucure part of a heavily gaurded prison in order to carry out execution?

It's not as if a lot of these assholes on Death row don't deserve what they are getting.
It's just that the government should not be allowed to sneak around when it is killing our own citizens

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The C.I.A. supplied Tookie and his gang with crack cocaine,That wasn't a nice thing to do to South Central Los Angeles was it?As a matter of fact the C.I.A is the most corrupt gang that has ever rotted on our soil.Have any C.I.A. agents ever been sentenced to death?
I'm certainly not defending Williams's actions,but he's not alone in the rotting of society in South Central Los Angeles.

At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But we can all agree that Amy Goodman and the Pope of Rome are saints for taking up Tookie's noble cause?

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Carol said...

This is a grim topic, Fred. Can't we just write about the weather? :)
Wasn't it a lovely summer rain?

BTW I oppose the death penalty, but you probably already knew that anyway.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

No, Carol. We're going to talk about executions.

The rain was nice though.

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Does a bear bear? Does the Pope pope? Amy is a Goodman to shine a light on the inequities within or legal system.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

or our legal system, I supposes.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You supposes purty good!

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who ally themselves with conscienceless killers like Tookie Williams like to think of themselves as morally superior because they are willing to throw out the Law based on their own fuzzy-minded sympathies. Why don't they ever sympathize with the victims of these murderous death-row denizens? Why are their tears always shed for the convicted murderers and never for their innocent victims?

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sympathy is for the victims, 9:49, all of them. Why are we so quick to convict people who are innocent of the crime that they were convicted of? Because they are black? Poor? Guilty of something else? Are framed by the FBI, CIA, or the police department? Was he convicted by a jury of his peers? Would you, as a juror, have found Tookie Williams guilty?

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Tookie's guilt was in question."

Not by the jury that convicted him. Not one of the twelve jurors had a doubt that he was guilty.

And maybe you didn't know it, but his guilt was upheld time and again in over twenty years of appeals through the California justice system.

Is that good enough for you?

Or can we only execute people convicted of capital crimes if we get a signed and notarized statement from God Almighty swearing an oath as to the guilt of the person who has been convicted by a jury of his peers and whose guilt has been upheld in every appeals court known to our system of jurisprudence?

Let's try to keep our feet on solid ground, OK? Let's not throw out every reasonable thought because we are dedicated to feeling good about ourselves no matter how much harm we do (a la the ACLU or Amy Goodman).

Let's not be too lazy to read a few well-researched articles about a person's criminal career. That way, we don't have to rely on his self-serving story about how he is an underappreciated benefactor of little children and other such fairy tales.

Tookie had a lot of blood on his hands. Not only metaphorically but literally. The good people who served as jurors did their jobs. They had to look at the evidence, including pictures of Tookie's victims that were so grotesque they were unsuitable to be printed in family newspapers or shown on television news. They made their decision based on more information than you have ever had about his crimes.

Their reward? To have political extremists with axes to grind describe them as racists.

Ironic, since three of the four murdered working people Tookie killed were Asian. Should the jury have let Tookie loose, knowing that he was guilty? What would you have called that kind of behavior?

Any one of us could be killed by a Tookie Williams as we do our jobs or walk in our neighborhoods. Do you want anyone to be able to murder you while your family watches, waiting their turn? If that were to happen to you and your family, as it happened to the three Asian motel operators (a mother, a father, and their adult daughter), would you advise the legal system to release the murderer because to demand justice would be "racist?"

Is it racist to demand that people in a democratic republic be expected to act according to law? Making excuses for misbehavior based on a person's race is the worst racism of all. Why? Because it says for all the world to see, the members of that race are not capable of acting in the civilized, law-abiding manner that every other group of people is expected to act. It states that they are not capable of decent behavior, so we must make allowances for their diminished capacity - as a race. That is a despicable idea. Despicable. Unacceptable to me and, I hope, unacceptable to you.

We are all equally capable of being good citizens. We must insist upon good behavior by ourselves, by our children, by our friends, and by our fellow citizens. All of them.

And when some people choose to commit crimes, they should be treated as the law requires, equally, impartially, and if their crimes require it, terminally.

At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arnold Schwarzenegger denied clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams, thereby disallowing four new witnesses that would have shed light on the mishandling of evidence and bribing of witnesses. Schwarzenegger cited the five time Nobel Peace Prize nominee's 1998 children's book, "Life in Prison" and it's dedication list as part of his reason for finding Williams' redemption doubtful. It seems that past and present political prisoners and icons of the global civil rights movement, who stood in solidarity Williams only strengthened the Governor's resolve. In the end, the outspoken supporter of non-violence was violently silenced, in the name of combating violence. The list of people whom Stanley Williams dedicated "Life in Prison" to: Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcom X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhorba Al-Mujahid, George Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal. All people of color, of African, African American, and Native American descent.

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read: ...who stood in solidarity with Williams only strengthened the Governor's resolve.

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose- no, not like stonings and beheadings. WE are MUCH more civilized, arent we?

WE use cruise missles, bunker busters, good old fashioned bombs,
and the occasional biologic-weapons.
We have to arrest our own soldiers for rape, not only Iraqis, but OUR OWN service women!
Going real well huh?

Wake up dear, we are creating more
Bin Ladens than there EVER were before 2001.

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter to whom Stanley "Tookie" Williams dedicated his book "Life in Prison."

Those people did not endorse Tookie Williams, his murders, his establishment of the Crips criminal gang, or any of his efforts to escape the law.

He tried to use them, and to use authorship, as a tool to serve his own selfish ends when using a shotgun on innocent store clerks no longer was effective.

When the law stopped him from murdering other people, he tried to use writing to stop the law. He failed.

Some people still support him and rail against the laws of the State of California. Yet another reason to be grateful for the Rule of Law in our great democratic republic.


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