City of Roses
This thread must be inspired by this morning's high-profiled execution of Crips-gang founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams.
Look, as I have previously mentioned here, I am opposed to the death penalty, where I believe far beyond the obvious scope that it is just inhumane to an extent, that it just doesn't teach or resolve in the end. I wish that our prison system could be reformed so that our tax payer dollars wouldn't go into ensuring luxuries for prisoners and simply go to incarcerating the worst criminals, which I absolutely agree with that argument, but I believe solitary confinement without parole is a more effective punishment where the one who commited the heinous crime, including shooting as many as four police officers with a shotgun, is forced to live in anguish and grapple with the pity and pay the emotional, psychological price of his/her actions, and hope though you must continue to live the penalty, you can recognize your faults and actions and such.
The death penalty I believe just cancels out that process; it's abrupt, and it's a lesson or anguish left unheard, unlearned.
With that said, I also don't believe Stanley Tookie Williams fulfilled the full requirements of clemency (clemency by spiritual definition) because, as a Christian myself, I believe in forgiveness wholeheatedly, but in order for forgiveness to be pure, one must seek penitence, which the first step is genuinely admitting your crimes or follies. Tookie never confessed to what he was accused of and the fact he never rised above the first mountain has me believing he wasn't fully worthy of clemency.
What Tookie failed to realize is, forgiveness is a natural process, often what I like to think of as a "velvet boot camp", and in order for forgiveness to be genuine and pure, the one yearning for forgiveness must understand these truths to forgiveness.
First of all, forgiveness is not forgetting. You musn't let the experiences dwell on the future, nonetheless you must understand what it is you're asking forgiveness for and seek resolve.
Secondly, forgiveness isn't avoidance. It should always be about revival. Forgiveness is designed to restore whatever relationship or harmony that was afflicted, and that is exactly what makes forgiveness such a powerful thing.
Finally, forgiveness does not come wrapped in excuses. Denial and the lack of closure for where we've wronged only subtracts our dignity as humans, for it is taking responsibility that is the learning experience that help us grow into better, more appreciative people.
The golden truth and dogmatic aim of forgiveness is the ability to observe ourselves and others more compassionately, to make wiser, and more conscious choices with respect to any unsatisfying emotional and belief patterns. Forgiveness is valuable because it helps us balance the energies of both love and will in our hearts, and use both of these lifeforces with greater skill, to become both nurturing and strong at the same time. And, finally, forgiveness grants us the gift of making better contact with their Higher Self, the very source of love, strength, wisdom and creativity within each of us, which is the intrinsic motivation to increase the ability to love unconditionally both self and others.
That's also exactly why I don't understand why many see Tookie as a "hero" to youth and such. How could we be convinced that he's the changed man he claims he is if he never had the heart to conquer the first phase of this "velvet boot camp"? While I believe it wrong for him to be executed, Tookie was clearly no "hero" and he was indeed a criminal and deserved to remain behind bars for life, where the least he could do was hope that no young mind will make the same ugly mistake he did in books and such.
With that said, I'm opposed to capital punishment while also a staunch supporter of life sentences for the worst of criminals. I certainly also wish there could be more efforts to promoting rehabilitation and education programs toward our youth which I believe can help mediate large numbers of these conflicts from happening and while there will always be troublemakers, at least doing such a thing can keep our prison system from being overcrowded as it is now.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"
[This message has been edited by Mistletoe Angel (12-13-2005 04:11 PM).]