An Eye for an Eye

By Thomas Kilts

Thomas Kilts

About the Song:

"Literally 12 hours after the execution of Tookie Williams, I was sitting in my garage with my ukulele and I wrote this song. The title comes from a saying I believe Ghandi once said: "An eye for an eye leaves us both blind." I remember waiting for the final decision from our Governor and reading in the BBC about the political considerations of a pardon. It sickened me because I was familiar with Tookie Williams and his children's books and the positive impact on the community they had. After the execution I just felt sad that there seemed no room for redemption in our society and the absurd idea of punishing violence with violence seemed insane, at least to me. In the context of the blatant racism that was exposed in this country after the Katrina hurricane, Tookie's executation was yet another reminder of the blindness in this country. The eyes help us to see, but we choose sometimes to keep them shut. Tookie Williams did horrible things in his life, but in his journey he decided to open his eyes and help others in his community open their eyes as well. In the Eastern spiritual traditions there is the notion of the mind's eye and how it, when opened, can see the inter-connectedness of all things. With the execution of Tookie Williams we neglected that 'eye,' too."
— Thomas Kilts


I wait for the pouring rain
to blend with all my tears.
It's been 12 hours, since they put
him down.

How do we, how do we, how do we?
How do we justify?

The night they killed,
Tookie Williams
I tossed and turned all night.
They forgot about
How are we supposed
to carry on?

Some people called it justice.
Some people wanted it done.

Where oh where do we go with this?
Where oh where do we go...
With this...

We don't need some
We just need some
common sense.
Some ask, what's the grief for?

An eye for an eye leaves us both blind
An eye for an eye leaves us both blind
An eye for an eye leaves us both blind.