Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Guy Excuse

Do the supposed good works of criminals, miscreants and tyrants excuse their bad behavior?  For example, if I save a life am I now fully empowered, entitled and enabled to murder an innocent at random?  May I arbitrarily take the life I just saved?

I have an acquaintance (NOT a friend, simply someone I know) currently serving 8-10 for vehicular manslaughter.  The individual in question “pounded” over a dozen shots of liquor at a gathering and then hopped in his vehicle and proceeded to crash head on with another vehicle, killing the driver and critically injuring the driver’s 3 grandchildren.  His BAC content at the scene was over .20.  Note that the legal limit in FL is .08.  During the pleadings and at the trial, everyone said but “Joe” is such a super guy!  Everyone likes him!  He is the life of the party!  He has 4 kids of his own!  He was in the Air Force for 20 years!   You never met a nicer guy!

OK, so let us, in our utter magnanimity, assume that “Joe” is in fact a truly super guy… does that give him a pass on breaking the law and killing someone in the process?  I say that is an unqualified NO as whatever “nice” things “Joe” has done in the past do NOT place him above the law and rules of good behavior.  “Joe” broke the law and behaved with a complete disregard for the safety of others, resulting in the death of another and the injury of several others.  “Joe” BELONGS in Jail.  People like “Joe” are the reason we HAVE jails!

It is noteworthy that the Judge, upon hearing all the pleading in Joe’s favor, was lenient with the sentencing.  FL law generally calls for a sentence in excess of TWENTY (20) years in cases of DUI manslaughter.   So, “Joe” got a semi-pass on his bad behavior.   Deserved pass?  No.

It is also noteworthy, but not legally relevant, that “Joe” was not the “Saint” that the resident apologista made him out to be.  As someone who knows a lot of people who know “Joe”, “Joe” was known to have done the following:  Commit adultery; pursue sexual affairs without disclosing STD status; used various scummy legal tricks to avoid paying child support; verbal spousal abuse; verbal and physical child abuse; frequent public drunkenness; frequent DUI (never cited);   DUI with children in the car (never cited); At least one other DUI vehicle crash (never cited).   “Joe” also attempted to recant his confession and tried to claim it wasn’t he driving the car at the time, even though it was HIS car involved in the crash and he was standing right next to it when police arrived!  I guess your “Transporter” must have malfunctioned that day, RIGHT “Joe”!

I suppose you folks have noticed that I’ve been quiet for the past couple of months.  A few reasons:  Busy at work, busy with holiday prep, lots going on in my volunteer work, etc… I’d also run out of things to say for the interim.  I don’t like saying the same thing over and over, and this is not a “news” site.  My peers at other sites keep everyone up to date on the latest pet-related outrage.

In any case, I recently found out that someone had left a comment on my “Monsters Among Us” essay.  That involved a Rottweiler miller causing the death of a neighbor back in September.  The comment was worthy of another essay:

“Jerry Lenton has been a friend of mine for over fifteen years and I've never known a kinder, gentler, more generous and generally all around good guy. I was not aware that he owned all those dogs nor do I know why he owned them, but his owning dogs does not speak to the character of this man. I would like to suggest that y'all should stay on topic and stick to discussing the dog situation and leave his vocation and religion out of it as that is in no way related to the issue at hand. I have no first hand info about the dog situation, but I do have significant first hand knowledge of Jerry and his character and none of the comments above are correct. It's ok to have an opinion, misguided as it may be, but please don't presume to comment on something you know absolutely nothing about. Jerry is a good man, a great guy and a true man of God, and no I don't go to his church and have never set foot in it. BTW, I own 10 dogs myself, not rottweilers or pit bulls, however I am an animal lover and I rescue unwanted dogs and find good homes for them. My dogs might damage your hearing from barking to greet you or they may lick you to death, but that's the extent of the harm they would inflict on anyone.”

There is absolutely nothing substantive in the above comment.  The author has done absolutely nothing to excuse Lenton in any way.  Jerry is a “Man of God”?  SURE he was, and so were the Catholic Priests who molested young boys…. The point is???  Hey, I’m sure Bin Laden was a Man Of God, too!

How does “Knowing someone for 15 years” excuse their bad behavior?  If I had known Ted Bundy for 20 years would that get him off the hook?   Hey, Ted is a super guy… let’s just turn him loose!

The bottom line is, I don’t care if Lenton really WAS the greatest guy around.  Everything Lenton’s friends say about him is curious but totally irrelevant.  Similar to “Joe”, Lenton’s disregard for the law, health and safety of others lead to a horrifying death.  And, YES, it is illegal to turn your dogs loose!  The fact that Lenton MAY have done some good things in the course of his life does NOT give him a pass on his reckless conduct.  

When you OWN a dog, YOU OWN everything it does!  QED.

As a footnote, it appears that the Lenton’s ARE being held accountable!   If Jerry’s buds can make the case that Jerry truly IS a super guy, maybe the judge will cut the sentence in half.   I think 8-10 for Lenton would be appropriate.