Jan 19, 2006 — Two recent executions in California drew attention from around the world. Former gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams was put to death despite continued pleas from supporters that he had reformed and become a powerful voice against the violence he once practiced. Nearly blind and deaf Clarence Ray Allen was the oldest man ever executed in California. He was 76. His lawyers maintained that putting a sick old man to death constituted cruel and unusual punishment. But it wasn't these arguments that pushed Paul Hetzler to send us this commentary.