The Economics of Kenny and Tookie

This week Kenneth Lee Boyd was executed in North Carolina for the 1988 murder of his wife and father-in-law.  He had the distinction of being the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

On December 13th Stanley “Tookie” Williams is scheduled for execution by lethal injection at San Quentin Prison in California.  The California Supreme court recently voted 4-2 to deny Williams’ clemency, so the only person who can intervene on his behalf is California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Williams, who was convicted of killing four people in a convenience store in 1979, has garnered a lot of support from well-meaning people who claim that he is a changed man.   Jesse Jackson, “human rights champion” Bianca Jagger, Michael Fox, and other hollywood types have been maintaining a vigil for Tookie.  Since entering San Quentin Williams has authored several children’s books denouncing gang violence and was even nominated for a Nobel Prize.  It should also be noted that founded the infamous Crips gang in his earlier years of crime and was indirectly responsible for the violence and chaos perpetrated by its members.

Williams may indeed be a changed man.  Boyd mellowed in prison also, and was allegedly a nice guy in the years and months prior to his execution.  I guess incarceration on death row has a way of calming a fellow down a bit.  However, the good behavior of these gentlemen while in prison does not negate the fact that both of them were cold-blooded killers.

Every time a person is executed in the United States the anti-death penalty folks come out to demonstrate.  They point out the fact that the state should not be in the business of killing people; that this is brutal and barbaric for a civilized society.  They also believe that the death penalty does not deter crime.  They are probably correct on both points.

The legal appeals process, from the time a man is sentenced to death until he is finally executed, takes around twenty years and costs literally millions of dollars.  The legal appeals costs for those sentenced to death are so astronomical that it costs much more to kill a man than to incarcerate him for the rest of his life.  Vengeance is expensive.

I propose the following.  First, Schwarzenegger should not intercede to grant clemency to Tookie.  In other words, the “terminator” should terminate Tookie.  Second, the US Congress should again make the death penalty illegal.  Initially you might wonder how someone can support executing Tookie and also wish to abolish the death penalty for everyone else on death row.  The reason is logical and defendable…based on pure economics.

California taxpayers have already paid millions to appeal Tookie’s case.  It would be a shame to let all of that money go to waste.   Fry Tookie.  I don’t give a damn about Tookie, just as he didn’t give a damn about his victims.  I also know that the decision to execute Tookie must be the right one by applying the “Jesse Jackson Test”.  The test goes like this.  Take any issue.  Find out what side Jesse Jackson is on.  The correct position is always the opposite of Jesse’s.

As far as the rest of the murderers go, let’s quit wasting taxpayer money on their legal appeals.  Make the death penalty illegal.  Just lock them in up in solitary confinement without a TV and without cigarettes or coffee until they die.   This will free their lawyers up to do more productive things, like chasing ambulances.

By the way, if you want to buy the autobiography of Stanley “Tookie” Williams, or get a copy of “Redemption”, the movie about Tookie’s life and work, or order a “Save Tookie” tee shirt you can order one at:    On second thought, you might want to wait and place your order on December 14th when the demand and prices for Tookie merchandise will probably fall like a rock.

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1 Response to The Economics of Kenny and Tookie

  1. bathrooms says:

    Excellent ideas here, have emailed my mum so expect a big reply!!

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