Note: The following column closely parallels an actual news report on Yahoo! of the execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams in California, often word for word, sometimes simply with names, ages, and locations changed. The irony the column turns upon, of course, is that Williams, a founding member of the Crips, was executed for four murders he denied having committed, while Mr. Bush, whose responsibility for perhaps 25,000 times as many deaths is based on evidence at least as strong as that used to convict Williams, is a free man admired by millions. “The Vulcans” is the name that Bush's core national security advisors, (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Condoleeza Rice, and a few others) gave themselves.
Gang Co-Founder Executed in Texas
Huntsville, December 12, 2015 -
George “W” Bush, co-founder of the notorious “Vulcans” gang, whose case stirred a national debate about capital punishment versus the possibility of redemption, was executed Tuesday morning.
Bush, 69, died at 12:35 a.m. Officials at Huntsville State Prison struggled to inject the lethal mixture into his muscular arm, strengthened by years of clearing brush on his Crawford, Texas, ranch. As they probed repeatedly for a vein, Bush looked up irritably, shaking his head at supporters and other witnesses, asking one of the men with a needle "What’s the problem here?"
Bush was condemned for deliberately starting a war by manufacturing and twisting evidence which he knew was false at the time. Bush claimed he was innocent. Witnessess at his trial said he boasted about the war, shouting, "Bring it on!" Bush then smirked and joked for five to six minutes, according to the transcript that the governor referenced in his denial of clemency.
The case became the state's highest-profile execution in decades. Radio talk-show hosts, televangelists, and politicians who had formerly been fierce capital punishment advocates argued that Bush's sentence should be commuted to life in prison because he had made amends by writing children's books about the dangers of torture and war. Bush had spent the past decade writing books to deter young people from following his example and using his "street" credibility to broker peace agreements between warring elements in the United States and abroad.
In the days leading up to the execution, state and federal courts refused to reopen his case. Monday, Gov. Rick Perry, Jr. denied Bush's request for clemency, suggesting that Bush’s supposed change of heart was not genuine because he had not shown any real remorse for the 100,000 or more deaths directly attributable to the gang known as “the Vulcans.”
"Is Bush's redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Perry wrote. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."
About 1,000 death penalty opponents and a few political supporters gathered outside the prison to await the execution. Singer Lee Greenwood, former actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Rev. Jerry Falwell were among the celebrities who protested the execution.
"Tonight is cold-blooded judicial murder, and I think everyone who is here is here to try to recover the morality and soul of this country," said Greenwood, who sang "God Bless the USA" from the back of a pickup truck just outside the gates.
A contingent of 30 people who had walked the approximately 67 miles from Houston held signs calling for an end to "state-sponsored murder." But others, including Darrell Bias, 52, of Willis, Texas, said they wanted to honor the victims.
"If he had admitted his responsibility for lying to start a deadly, evil war, and had shown some remorse for the slaughter of thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children, the governor might have had a reason to spare his life," Bias said.
During Bush's years on death row, a Swiss legislator, college professors, and others nominated him for the Nobel Prizes in peace and literature.
Former Vulcans member Irve Lewis Libby Jr., 65, was among those attending a candlelight vigil outside the prison. He said he would work to spread Bush's anti-war message. "His work isn’t going to stop," said Libby, who said he was known as "Scooter" as a young cabal member. "W's body might be buried, but his spirit is free. I want everyone to know that, his spirit lives."
Bias rejoined, “That’s the problem in a nutshell.”
"I’m not the same man who started the war," Bush said recently during an interview with The Associated Press. "I haven't had a lot of self-knowledge in my life. But in here," he said, pointing to his head, "I know I’m right."
Bush's statements did not sway some relatives of his victims, including Lorena Orwell, whose son Andy was among four soldiers who died when a roadside bomb exploded near their convoy. In the years since his death, she has been one of the outspoken advocates who argued the execution should go forward.
"(Bush) chose to put Andy in harm’s way through three tours of duty in Iraq. Andy didn't do anything to deserve to die. He just joined the Guard to get money for college. He had big plans for his life," she said during a recent interview. "He didn’t die right away. He was covered with horrible burns over 90% of his body, and had massive internal injuries. I believe Bush needs to get the punishment he was given when he was tried and sentenced."
After he was officially pronounced dead, three of his supporters chanted, "The state of Texas just killed an innocent man," and waved small American flags as they walked out of the chamber.
© Tony Russell, 2005