As of Sunday December 11th, Governor Schwarzenegger has still not announced his decision on commuting Tookie Williams’ death sentence. With a little over a day remaining I’ve been reflecting on how overwhelmingly horrific this thing is…all the way around.
I have already written a piece about the death penalty…and why in the case of murder I believe it to be a right and just thing. Yet…just the absolute horror of it, is almost too much to contemplate.
Think about it.
Right now Governor Schwarzenegger must be quite torn…no matter which decision he will ultimately make. If he decides to commute Tookie’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, how does he look the relatives of the four victims in the eye. Their family members were brutally and unjustly murdered. How can you justify that it is right to have the person who took their lives continue to live?
Yet…if he decides to not commute the sentence and Tookie Williams is executed…there’s no turning back. It’s a done deal. Once the man is dead…there is no bringing him back. Unless you have a crime committed on videotape or you witnessed yourself…you would always have a twinge of doubt…what if he didn’t do it?
Then there is the unimaginable burden…that even when proceeding with the execution of a confessed and proven murdered…a human life will be taken. A human life, created in God’s own image. A life so precious, that God sent his only begotten Son to die, so that whosoever would believe might be saved.
Then to think of Tookie Williams’ mom…what might a mother be feeling as her son face the death penalty for crimes committed. Tookie was once a babe in his mother’s arms. Most precious and innocent…and full of hope and promise. To think how awful his life turned out…it’s too painful to imagine.
Of course let us not forget that the victim’s families have been facing that for the past 26 years…to think of what an awful death they faced. The pain and the terror of their last moments. Their future…their life cut short and ended at the hands of a murderer.
Dennis Prager once had a show in which he posed the question…as a parent would rather you child be a murderer or be murdered. Actually…he didn’t keep the topic for a full hour because both Dennis and callers alike found it entirely too painful to contemplate….indeed it is.
While an entirely different context, a Golda Meir quote comes to mind, “I can forgive you for killing my sons, but I cannot forgive you for forcing me to kill your sons.” Golda was addressing the Palestinians.
While the forgiveness is not mine to offer in the instance of Tookie Williams, because my family members were not murdered, I think Golda Meir’s quote is apt.
God forbids individuals to extract revenge and to kill someone for wrong doing done towards us as individuals. However he does permit and give that ability to government. In fact God tells us in Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God, has God made man.” What’s interesting to note in that passage, it says by “man’s hands” will the murder’s blood be shed. Not God’s hand…but by man. Not as an individual taking revenge. For revenge belongs to the Lord alone. (Romans 12:19). But the government/society is charged with that responsibility, after a just trial has take place and the crime proven.
Tookie…you are forcing our society to take your life for the crimes you committed.
No matter what happens…if Tookie sentence is commuted or the death penalty is carried forth…there is nothing good that comes from this. There is only hurt, pain, devastation…and there is only one Healer to whom all can go. Our God must be weeping with us.
It is my prayer that the victim’s families will go to Jesus to be able to forgive the unforgivable. That Tookie Williams will repent, seek forgiveness and salvation through our Savior Jesus Christ…who bore all our sins on the cross…including your sins Tookie. Also that Governor Schwarzenegger would seek guidance and wisdom, peace and strength for the decision that rests in his hands.