Mood: not sure
Topic: "Third Strike Nuance (2)"
Matthew Hahn of Los Gatos, California is a burglar. Hahn, who is 26, faces life imprisonment if convicted for his latest spree which just happens to be his third offense. Under California Law, three felony convictions automatically results in a life sentence for the offender. Frodo notes that "no activist judge" is going to have the option to let a career criminal back on the streets. The phrase "Damn straight," is something Frodo would probably hear in response if he uttered these words out loud.
"Nuance" is an interesting word, and Frodo likes to use it when he talks about hard-and-fast rules; those things which appear to be simply black or white. In the case of Mr. Hahn, the "nuance" is why he happened to get caught.
Last year, while committing the latest of his burglaries, Hahn noticed something very strange in a packet of photographs he had removed from his victims' residence. The photographs were of a man molesting a small child. Hahn anonymously mailed the photographs to the police. Utilizing that information, the police arrested Mr. Robbie Aitken who subsequently pleaded "No Contest" and is now serving a 30-year sentence. Utilizing the same information, the police arrested Mr. Hahn for burglary, and charges are now pending against him which will send him to jail for the rest of his life.
The "nuance" of mandatory sentencing is that Mr. Hahn may have forever remained a free man had he simply destroyed the pictures. The "nuance" of the criminal justice system is that a non-violent offender will receive a harsher penalty than will a man whose deviant behavior endangered a child. The "nuance" is that Hahn is an extremely intelligent, well-read, drug addict, who committed crimes to finance his addiction, but who has not lost his sense of humanity. The system dictates that he be removed to the "garbage pile of life."
In the cell which houses Matthew Hahn there is a growing stack of books. Among the dialogues of Plato, the Tao Te Ching, and "Law for Dummies," there is a paperback entitled "Martyrs," a collection of stories about people who sacrificed their lives for their faith. It is a present from the mother of a young girl, forever nameless.
Simply giving Mr. Hahn another chance is not an answer, but, as the old saying goes, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." So is a heart.