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Letter: Stronger punishment for murderers using vehicles

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I read about the sentencing of a 19-year-old boy in Grand Rapids for killing a 19-year-old girl (Christy Lynn Laney). The boy murdered her after he had spent the evening imbibing. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years supervised probation along with compulsory classes regarding drinking.

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Last year I went to Beltrami Court to witness the proceedings. The majority of cases were DUI and substance abuse. I consulted the Pioneer for a few days about the cases in our courts, and the majority of them are the same: DUI and substance abuse.

I have read in the past six months of prosecutors who are treating vehicular homicide as murders and incarcerating the offenders with years in jail. We treat homicide with guns as murders and prosecute the offenders somewhat harshly. If we are intoxicated and kill someone, like Christy, with our vehicle, we are spanked and sent on our way. Why are we so tolerant with these murderers?

I realize that it is hopeless to try to curb drinking driving. Recidivism is huge and the cost of incarceration immense. We have other problems such as a budget deficit in Minnesota as well as national and world problems.

I think we are tolerant in that many of us have been intoxicated and driven and would hope the courts would be lenient with us if we ever get into such a situation. I realize this was only a young woman who didn't have an opportunity to contribute much to society. I also realize the impact on the young man's future would be considerable.

What do we do with murderers who use cars and trucks instead of guns? A pat on the po-po does not seem right. A young woman's future was violently taken from her. Her parents must be devastated. I had to put my dog down last fall and could not believe the effect it had on me. How must Christy's parents and siblings feel?

I sometimes wonder when our society is going to grow up. We ignore starvation and genocide throughout the world and taking care of our wounded troops, and so on. Christy is simply one little person so we can ignore her and her family. After all, the murderer must have another chance, which statistics show he will repeat over and over again until he kills himself.

Gerald C. "Jeb" Monge

Bemidji

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