I’m going to throw a few names in your direction to see if they ring a bell: Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai-Yang and Yee Chen Lin. How about Terri Winchell? No recollection of these names? That’s what I thought, so let me shed some light as to the identities of these people.
The first four names were innocent victims killed 26 years ago by recently executed Stanley “Tookie” Williams. The last name is the murder victim of soon-to-be executed Michael Morales.
Throughout the Tookie Williams saga all we heard about was how he was a children’s book author and received a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for children’s literature. We never heard about those he killed in cold blood and mocked with racial slurs as they died. That side of Tookie was too vile to garner support for his clemency and therefore omitted.
The same is going on with Michael Morales. He’s the guy who tortured, raped and murdered 17-year-old Terri Lynn Winchell 25 years ago. Such was the ferocity of the attack against Winchell that even hardened investigators at the scene of the crime had to choke back tears.
Morales’ attorneys and anti-death penalty proponents claim that the death penalty is cruel and inhuman punishment. Maybe they should ask Terri Winchell to define cruel and inhuman, but she’s dead – thanks to Mr. Morales.
Those against the death penalty claim that it costs too much to execute a rightfully convicted murderer and to a degree, this is true. It becomes expensive when savvy attorneys with an agenda of benefiting their career pervert the appeals system.
But the vilest act against the victims and their families is that of keeping death row inmates alive for as long as they get to live with all those appeals. Tookie made it to 26 years and Michael 25 years. It is no accident that these brazen killers get to live long after their sentences. The way it works is that if you extend the period of time until the day they meet their end, chances are people will forget the severity of the crime as well as the suffering of the victims and of those close to them. Basically put, it is a war of attrition and time is the enemy of the innocent.
Add to this a sympathetic media that mostly focuses on the anti-death penalty activists and their poster child, while showing very little concern for the victim or their family.
In the case of recently executed murderer Ray Allen, they tried to claim he was too old to be executed. I wonder if his victims were too young to die.
Anti-death penalty activists will use anything to falsely make their point: Racism, wrongful conviction, cruel and inhuman punishment, ethics, mental capacity, etc. Any of these points could be easily countered with the simplest of argument and discussion, but one thing the anti-death penalty contingent doesn’t want to hear is the technical facts behind the truth.
There have been just as many whites as there have been blacks executed and sitting on death row. Wrongful convictions can be overturned with DNA evidence, but the only problem with DNA evidence is that in more cases than not it puts the criminal at the heart of the crime committed.
If you want to see real cruel and inhuman punishment then may I suggest a visit to China, where they shoot criminals in the back of the head and charge the family for the bullet; Cuba, where they still have firing squads with all guns loaded or Saudi Arabia, where beheadings are still a common practice – just to name a few. In those places people are put to death for something as small as expressing a dissenting point of view, while in this country we only execute for murder and even then execution isn’t a sure bet.
When animals become severely ill or injured, we’re presented the option of euthanasia. Simply put, we can choose to end the life of a living creature that did nothing to anyone regardless of how they feel about it. Their only crime was getting sick or injured. We do the same to unborn children with abortion using the disclaimer that it is between a woman and her God.
In the case of a brazen murder there’s no illness involved. All that matters to a criminal is their personal gain and clemency suits that gain.
Sure, it’s an easy way out, but at least we don’t have to worry about their potential to escape or worry about a convicted criminal reaching out through contacts on the outside to do their dirty work against those who testified against them.
It is high time to start putting some of these vicious predators in the ground. After all, we put rabid dogs to sleep don’t we?
Henry Sarria is a long time Isla Vista resident.