Letter: Argues on mom’s behalfOn the Friday before last (July 18), my mother was re-sentenced to five years in prison. Although it was what we expected, it was nonetheless incredibly disappointing to see a judge in the year 2008 give out such a draconian and backward sentence.
By: Joseph Bear, St. Paul, Hudson Star-Observer
On the Friday before last (July 18), my mother was re-sentenced to five years in prison. Although it was what we expected, it was nonetheless incredibly disappointing to see a judge in the year 2008 give out such a draconian and backward sentence.
I would have thought, or at least hoped, that we as a society had moved past the point where we merely punish alcoholics and other addicts and instead try to help them, but evidently I was sorely mistaken. I am hopeful and confident, though, that the Appeals Court will overturn this terrible decision.
What I found more disturbing than the sentence itself, however, was the fact that some seemed to take pleasure from it. To give an example of what I am referring to, in the courtroom, there was a man sitting behind me who I can only assume shared the sympathies of the Strauch family. Yet if this were the case, one would imagine he would have shown even a modicum of grief or sorrow. To the contrary, he seemed to be quite enjoying the proceedings; I heard him mutter under his breath, among other things, that my mother’s lawyer was a “dirty bastard.” Likewise, before the proceedings began, I heard a woman say in a malicious attempt at humor that she should have worn an orange jumpsuit.
I cannot understand nor do I want to try to begin to understand the mind that takes pleasure in a 57-year-old asthmatic with a bad ankle being sentenced to five years in prison. And regardless of Judge Lundell’s grandstanding, I know that my mother did not drink out of arrogance or a lack of remorse or lack of deference to the feelings of the Strauch family.
She drank because she’s an alcoholic, and contrary to what some may believe, alcoholism isn’t a moral failing — it’s a disease, a disease that is characterized in part by “impaired control over drinking” and “use of alcohol despite adverse consequences,” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Lastly, I feel it’s necessary to point out that the typical standards of journalism have been largely ignored in the coverage of this entire case, both in reports by this newspaper and others and by local television stations. Anyone having read or seen any of these reports would be well-advised to take the information presented in them with a grain (or a barrel) of salt.