So the state of California went ahead an executed Stan Tookie Williams. As an opponent of capital punishment I wish that California would outlaw the death penalty, but at least Tookie’s death answered one pressing question — exactly what would I have to do to get motivational speaker Tony Robbins to show up and say a few words at my funeral.
Since Robbins showed up at Tookie’s funeral, apparently all I have to do is brutally five or six people. Robbins showed up at Tookie’s funeral saying that he was filled with “so much rage and so much anger” at the gang leader’s death. In fact, Tookie seems to have revolutionized Robbins’ approach to motivational speaking. Once upon a time, Robbins used firewalking gimmicks to motivate people. But today, Robbins says, we should look to convicted murderers for inspiration. Robbins interviewed Tookie shortly before the killer’s death, and Robbins’ website says of the interview (emphasis added),
During this two-hour interview, taped after Tony’s recent visit to San Quentin State Prison, learn how Mr. Williams committed his life to daily acts of redemption, leveraging his past to create a better future.
Mr. Williams’ story of personal growth will help guide and inspire you to work toward your own healthier and more successful future.
Here I thought affirmations and a positive mental attitude were the keys to success when really I should have been focused on killing my way to the top of an organized crime outfit.
Robbins’ next book? Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Tony Montana.
Finally, in my previous piece on Williams I made much of the fact that he was the founder of the L.A. street gang the Crips, but that appears to have been untrue.
Although Williams repeatedly claimed to have founded the Crips, the gang was apparently already well-established before Williams became involved with it. For example, CNN quotes LA County Sheriff’s Sgt. Wes McBride as saying,
The Crips were already well established when Tookie came on the scene. [That he created the Crips] is part of his mystique that his supporters are using to try to get him commuted. It gives him a stature as an anti-hero kind of person that has now turned his life around.
But it also goes to the heart of Williams’ claim to have truly changed. Why would someone who had truly reformed want to take credit for criminal activity he had no part of? On the one hand, Williams insists that he had nothing to do with all those murders he was convicted of, but on the other hand he openly takes credit for criminal activity he apparently had nothing to do with. That’s the mark of an insincere manipulator, not someone whose truly turned his back on his past.
Hundreds gather for Tookie Williams’ Funeral. Associated Press, December 20, 2005.
Williams claim of founding Crips is disputed. Reuters, December 12, 2005.
Tookie’s Mistaken Identity. Michael Krikorian, LA Weekly, June 2004.