Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A point to ponder

Notice that in nearly every article on the BBC about ex-gang member, convicted murderer, and soon-to-be-executed Stanley “Tookie” Williams, readers are reminded that Williams has “earned” several Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Considering that all it takes to get such a nomination is a nod from a single social science professor somewhere in the world, and especially given the kinds of people who have managed to actually win the prize, it’s not at all clear to me that such a nomination is all that significant.

But let’s imagine, for a moment, that getting nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is indeed a significant and important achievement. When, do you suppose, was the last time the BBC reminded its audience that US President George W. Bush has been the recipient of such a nomination not just once, but twice?


Anonymous Bill said...

I've been wondering about that too since this story came so prominently onto the BBC radar. (Thanks for the link... for some reason I couldn't find it on the Nobel site.)

As to its significance, well perhaps that he was turned down for the prize five times is more to the point. More interestingly, who on earth would nominate a convicted gangster in the first place?

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he lashed out against the white power structure by executing those working for small wages in convenience stores..

a true revolutionary

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic BBC here:


"What message does America sent to the rest of the world about terrorism when it executes one of its own citizens?"
Lynn, Hitchen, UK

I want some of what this 'Lynn' is on! What a legally-sanctioned execution of a dangerous murderer has to do with terrorism is anybody's guess!

Of course, a huge debate follows, most of it rabidly anti-American. Business as usual at the BBC. You'd think the US was the only country in the world to have a death penalty!

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am happy that Mr. Williams is now worm food.

It was fun watching "Jesse Jackson" (a fake reverend and shakedown artist) try to rhyme "death penalty."

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

The US is the only country in the Western world to have the death penalty. It is no longer used in most of Europe, Canada or in the antipodes. It is a huge divide in our cultures, one of the few. Fewer than half of countries in the world execute criminals.

Before you jump down my thoat, I am not anti-US. While I am not especially enamored of Bush I support his foreign policy, including the Iraq war. However I have never supported the death penalty. I can't see Williams as a special case, so am unsure why Jesse Jackson is supporting his case when there have been clearer micarriages of justice, some not featuring black Americans, but that is as irrelevant to the philosophy of capital punishment as execution is irrelevant to terrorism debates.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

richard "It is a huge divide in our cultures"

I'm not sure that is the correct term, as the death penalty may well have continued to exist in the UK if the subject had been decided by referendum.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Scott Callahan said...


Anon is correct. Polls show (see questions 11 and 12)that substantial majorities are in favor of the reintroduction of capital punishment in the UK for certain crimes. The difference between the UK and the US is not so much a difference between the populace. The difference is, instead, the degree to which the inclinations of the bien pensant elite have grasped the levers of power.


7:35 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Priceless Scott!

12:12 AM  

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