As pretty much everyone already knows, four police officers were shot and killed early on Sunday morning in Lakewood, Washington.
Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, Mark Renninger, and Greg Richards were not responding to a robbery call, not patrolling a dangerous part of town, not involved in a fight with a crazed criminal. They were just sitting in a cafe, catching up on paperwork.
The animal who walked into that cafe and gunned those small town heroes down in cold blood in a targeted assassination should never have been on the streets to begin with. He should never have had the opportunity to murder. The animal, and there is no other word that properly describes this particular being, had already been caged, on numerous occassions.
In August, September, and November of 1989, this animal was sentenced to more than 13 years on numerous counts of burglary, theft, and robbery. That was after having probation revoked already. He was only 17 years old. In February of 1990 it was 20 more years for burglary and theft, and then in November he gained a 6-year sentence for firearm possession.
By the time this animal had reached 18 years of age, it had already accumulated more than a century of sentencing time. During one particular hearing the judge had it shackled, claiming the animal had threatened him. There was no way, no way, that this animal should ever have been back out on the streets. No way that this caged animal should have been able to hurt anyone again. At least not anyone who wasn't behind bars themselves.
But then in May of 2000, after this animal had been safely locked up away from the rest of us for over a decade, his total sentence time was commuted to just over 47 years by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
The effect of Huckabee's commutation was that it made the animal eligible for parole that very day. Just two months later a parole board granted, and the animal was released on August 1st, 2000.
Beginning that very day, the rest of humanity was in danger. It didn't take long though to get him back into a cage. In July of 2001 he was convicted of robbery and received a 10-year sentence. Another decade with this animal off the streets? Another decade for human beings to sleep in peace, at least from this particular animal? Hardly. He was paroled again, this time in March of 2004 after serving less than three years.
Beginning that very day, the rest of humanity was again in danger. This was a proven dangerous, violent, recidivist criminal, but governors, judges, and parole board members thought him safe to walk the streets with their own children, spouses, and parents. All of this occurred while in Arkansas, but these local officials didn't have to worry about their safety or that of their loves ones for long, if they were worried at all.
The same month that he was released, the animal scurried across country, moving out west to Washington state where their Department of Corrections listed him as "high risk to reoffend" despite Arkansas' apparent feeling that the public was safe. Their DOC was to continue his supervision until 2015, but he wouldn't take long to prove his dangerous self. Again.
Earlier this year in his new hometown of Tacoma, where he established a reputation for being erratic and for throwing loud parties, the animal assaulted a sheriff's deputy who had responded to a disturbance outside his home. The animal and two other males attempted to attack the deputy together, and were finally restrained when backup officers arrived.
The animal's family has since reported that he was deteriorating mentally at a rapid pace, making messianic claims about himself, saying that he was Jesus Christ and that the end of the world was coming soon. He ordered his wife and two young relatives to stand naked in front of him at 4am, saying that this was a new Sunday practice.
A sister of this animal stated that it claimed the ability to fly, and that it claimed to have written a letter to the President, and it expected the Secret Service to be coming for it soon. The animal also stated that President Obama himself was going to come and support the idea that it was the messiah.
While investigating this incident the authorities came upon evidence which led to charges of the animal having raped a 12-year old relative. It was once again put into a cage where it belonged all along. Small children and the rest of the world was finally safe from the animal. That is, until yet another judge deemed him eligible for bail. He bailed out in early November. Just weeks later, he murdered the four officers.
The animal will never kill or hurt anyone ever again. Officers in Washington state made sure of that when they shot and killed him during the investigation of a stolen auto today. This was the culmination of a massive investigation and manhunt following the Sunday morning murders.
But while the community has been made safe now thanks to the police putting this animal down for good, we are left to wonder why it had to go this far. Why did numerous people need to be assaulted and robbed? Why did an officer have to be assaulted? Why did a little child have to be raped? Why did a family have to be terrorized? Why did four heroic officers have to die? Why do families have to suffer now forever?
Why? There is one simple reason. Because our criminal justice system in America is broken. Because when animals commit crimes against society and the police do their job and arrest them, putting them behind bars where they can no longer hurt anyone, and these animals are convicted by a judge or jury and given a sentence, that sentence is almost never carried out.
The "system" will give you a thousand excuses as an answer to our "Why?" question. It will talk about forgiveness and leniency. It will talk about rehabilitation and recovery. It will talk about fairness and opportunity. It will talk about overcrowding and financial costs. What it never seems to care about is safety and security for we, the people.
If someone is sentenced to 25 years in jail for robbing another, they need to serve 25 years. If they are sentenced to a half century in jail for raping a child, they need to serve a half century. If they are sentenced to life for some level of taking the life of another, they need to stay in jail for life. If they are sentenced to death for a cold-blooded murder, then they need to die.
The only people who need to have their sentences shortened or terminated or commuted are those who, based on some new evidence (DNA, confession of another, etc), receive a new trial and are subsequently acquitted of the charges. Those sentenced to death need some relatively speedy process of evaluation of the evidence, and then have their sentences carried out.
It is only through the process of completely and fully carrying out of the sentencing that the majority law-abiding public can have any real measure of true, lasting safety and peace. The vast majority of crime has been proven to be committed by the same recidivist offenders. The animals will maim and kill when released from their cages. Expecting any other eventuality is just plain ignorant.