The random thoughts of a nash.
with friends like these...
Published on December 13, 2005 By Gene Nash In Current Events

Next to himself, Tookie's worst enemy was his supporters.

All we ever heard, as if on an endless loop, were the ludicrous arguments "nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize" and "he wrote children's books."

The bizarre notion that writing children's books should exonerate someone from murder would be laughable if so many people hadn't just tried it. I hear Dr. Suess wasn't such a lovable fellow. I wonder what he'd have done knowing writing children's books was considered a get off death row free card? How many books is a person's life worth? I need to know, because there are several people on my list and I need to start typing.

Okay, so Tookie was a five time WCW champion... wait... wrong convict... so Tookie was a five time Nobel Prize Nominee. So what? Anyone can be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! I could be nominated for the Peace Prize. There's a push on to nominate Oprah for the Peace Prize. I don't know, maybe she caught Stedman tomcatting around and is looking to build a defense in advance. Hold off Op's. It doesn't work. Yet.

There is surprisingly no criteria for nominees, just for nominators.

The following may nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize:

1. Members of national assemblies and governments of states;
2. Members of international courts;
3. University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;
4. Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
5. Board members of organizations who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
6. Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; and
7. Former advisers appointed by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and Fidel Castro have all been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It would have been astounding if Tookie couldn't find an anti-capital punishment activist in the 2nd or 3rd categories to nominate him. And look how long it took them! They waited till 2001. Things that make you go, hmmm. (By the way, the Nobel committee withholds the names of nominees for 50 years. They don't want anyone to know. You shouldn't need any more information than that to see that the whole thing was a publicity ploy.)

That argument was so ludicrous on the face of it, that it trivialized the whole effort. Tookie's supporters did him in.

Also bellying up to the bar were those who argue that the death penalty is just plain wrong and that's reason enough to stop it. In this country, right now, that's like walking up to a smoker and pleading with them to put out their cigarette because it's a bad thing to do. It's like walking up to people in McDonald's and saying cows have rights too, put down the burger. It's an argument that isn't going to hold any weight. It's not about Tookie, it's solely about your pet cause and everyone knows it. People have already made up their minds on the death penalty issue. For now, it's a done deal. People, you weren't doing the man any good! If you were going to get him off, it was going to have to be on the merits of his case not your cause.

Then there were the usual suspects who suddenly pop-up to parade before the cameras every time there's a case that will get enough attention. Most of these people couldn't have cared less about Tookie, they're also just there to push their cause. These people see a high profile case and know win or lose they are going to get a lot of press, get to make their points repeatedly for weeks on a national stage, and like erosion try to chip away at the prevailing belief system. Not only are they not doing any good in the individual cases, but some of them just piss people off so much they set things back even further. People roll their eyes and say, "Hey, look, it's him again!" and the inmate is worse off and thought worse of than if the celeb activists had never shown up.

They anti-death penalty zealots weren't even really Tookie supporters, but they did him in too.

What did Tookie end up with? Supporters who trivialized his case, and activists who were too busy with their own cause to worry about his. Is it any wonder this guy got served the Dr. Kevorkian cocktail?

If they were going to get this man clemency, they needed some ground swell of public support. All most of the public knew was "Founder of Crips, cold-blooded murderer of four innocent people, now a 5 time Nobel Peace Prize nominated children's book author." Hmmm, Nobel nomination v. cold blooded murderer of four innocent people. Children's books author v. founder of Crips. How whacked in the head do you have to be to place those on scales opposite each other and even begin to imagine they equaled out? That was never going to get it done.

But perhaps there were other arguments that could have.

On the "live Tookie does more good than dead Tookie" argument front, his talking to kids did nothing for me. What did get me thinking was the fact that he'd been instrumental in the partial peace negotiated between the Crips and the Bloods. I'm from L.A. That peace agreement did dramatically cut down on the gang violence. The treaty has made a difference, and finding out his importance to it gave me serious pause. It got me wondering what might happen to it after he died. It got me considering what else like it he might be able to accomplish if he lived. That's exactly the sort of concrete information they needed to, but didn't, provide.

Why wasn't that information put forth? Why didn't his supporters make that part of the common knowledge of the case? Why did I have to find it out for myself? Everyone should have known about that and it was his supporters' job to make sure we knew.

The brief kingbee's been pushing for a couple of weeks has some compelling points in it. Why didn't we hear these from Tookie's supporters instead of their ludicrous Dr. Seuss arguments? They could have taken it apart, reduced the most compelling portions to sound bite sized pieces and hit the media trail.

For instance, I saw several people write that Tookie wasn't even denying it, but only saying, in essence, "I'm redeemed, let me live." No, Tookie claimed he had nothing to do with the murders. If his supporters were doing a proper job, we would have known his actual position.

We should have been hearing, "Tookie was framed by the real killer." We should have been hearing, "There was no physical evidence." We should have been hearing, "The one shell casing found at the scene could not have come from Tookie's gun!" We should have been hearing a lot things other than "Nobel Peace Prize nominated children's author."

Those are just the beginning of arguments and vital information that could have been put forth day and night till everyone in the country knew them as well as the "Nobel's answer to J.K. Rowling" nonsense.

The anti-death penalty activists weren't going to say it, because that's not what they're there to argue about. All they do is waste valuable time and air space trying to sell Viagra to the Pope. If they show up at your clemency bid you better chase them off fast before they turn all the attention to their dog and pony sideshow and your actual case gets completely lost in the fog of their brains.

Why didn't Tookie's supporters do it? Was it because they thought the redemption story was more compelling? Or were they all convinced he actually did it and redemption was all they had to work with? Or did they not even know what they had to work with? Whatever the reason, they never put their most compelling arguments forward.

Tookie wasn't, as his supporters claimed, killed by the "incompetent defense" of decades ago, but by the incompetent defense they gave him today. With supporters like these, who needs detractors?

on Dec 13, 2005

Tookie wasn't, as his supporters claimed, killed by the "incompetent defense" of decades ago, but by the incompetent defense they gave him today. With supporters like these, who needs detractors?

Very good summation.  And excellent points made.

on Dec 13, 2005
Great Article Gene!!!

To me though the Nobel "Peace" Prize lost all meaning as soon as Yassir Arafat got it. They might as well give it to Syringe Stanley, the "prize" is as meaningless as his life was.