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posted: 12/8/2012 5:00 AM

Find better way than 'life without parole'

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Let's see now. This Christopher Vaughn fellow kills his wife and three children because he wanted them out of the way so he could go up into the Canadian wilderness and romp and play with whatever it is that folks romp and play with up there. I'm not a big fan of the death penalty, although some crimes certainly warrant no less. But most prosecutors and juries are human, and humans do make serious mistakes sometimes, and when they execute an innocent person for a crime that someone else committed, that is a terrible crime unto itself.

And so we have this idiotic thing called "life without parole." Is that the best we can come up with? Of course, life imprisonment is not the most promising career path one can look forward to, but it has some perks, too, like free food, shelter, medical and dental care, no more worries about job security or mortgage payments or taxes or neighborhood shootouts for life. It sounds almost like a bird's nest on the ground safely behind brick walls, provided the jailkeepers remain friendly. And all of that for life!

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So besides the original victims, who are the real losers when these terrible crimes are committed? Well that 38-year-old criminal can reasonably expect about 30 more years of life in that secure "bird's nest." And at a cost to the public of about $40,000 dollars a year, the public is the big loser to the tune of about $1.2 million.

I don't have a better answer. Civilization is not really civilized until it actually becomes civilized. Utopia is no utopia until it becomes civilized. There are still some major problems to solve.

Joseph Russell Vannier

Hoffman Estates

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