A young, 20-year-old man committed "armed robbery" with a "gun" and received a three-years-and-eight-months sentence. This was premeditated. I do not know Stuart Peterson or anyone in that article ["Justice Undone?" Dec. 2 Xpress], but to me this sentence seems extremely lenient for such a crime, and that must be because it was his first felony arrest. Mr. Forbes fails to mention his past record of arrests other than "tales of his former life were hard to believe"; that speaks for itself. Thank God he didn't shoot anyone during the perpetration of his crime.
What I have to wonder is if Stu thinks that his sentence is unjustified? You must remember the "at gunpoint" aspect. His new family has only known him a mere six months — [a family made up of] court-appointed therapists, substance-abuse treatment counselors and an employer he likes. But how long did Stu Peterson choose his extended gang family? The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior! If he proves his new "change" is not just a façade, he'll get out early, and maybe turn it all around.
Everyone has a right to arm themselves legally. But criminals will always have illegal guns. To get guns out of the hands of desperados is simple: If you use a gun in the performance of a crime, you (and anyone with you) [should] get an additional 20 years tacked onto the sentence(s) with no chance of parole; that will end gun violence as we know it. Even gang-bangers can grasp that notion.
I am not unsympathetic towards his mother. But when my pregnant daughter-in-law called me sobbing that my 30-year-old son had been gone for days on a crack binge, I advocated for "tough love" and went straight to the police to get him out of the crack house and into treatment. They did, they were wonderful, and they saved his life! Police will help when parents are taking a positive hard stance. Sometimes not "protecting" your child is the hardest choice a parent ever has to make!
— Kate Crawford