Criminal Costs | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Criminal Costs



I was so enraged by John Conroy's "killer symp" article ("The Shocking Truth," January 10) that I had to take a dozen Valium tablets.

The very idea of putting 14-year-old photographs of a bruised, bandaged murderer of two police officers on your front page that are obviously designed to evoke pity raises the question of whether some form of censorship should be reintroduced--not to mention the bad taste shown toward the surviving members of the Fahey and O'Brien families.

What we really had was two evolutionary errors in the form of Andrew Wilson and his brother who were unproductive outlaws and a menace to society and considering the overwhelming evidence and the full bestiality of their crime should have been executed shortly thereafter and the officers who engaged in the physical abuse should have been tried for assault and battery and fired. Case closed. We have bad citizens and bad cops.

I really believe that it is getting far too expensive and time-consuming to be morally upright and legally perfect. The over one million paid out as a result of this criminal abuse plus almost another million in city lawyers' fees--and there was mention of 61 other abuse victims, some collecting from $95,000 to $3.5 million--and the thousands of pages of testimony and transcripts are bound to make the gagging taxpayer wonder is it worth all of this and conclude that if a person should have been executed why lose sleep over physical abuse at a police station, especially if one considers that that really is the only real punishment those criminals will ever receive, for as any shrink will tell you, career criminals hate freedom and unconsciously gravitate toward incarceration. The recent Richard Speck revelations make it plain that prison life can be an oasis of pleasure, and with weight training programs, aerobics classes, and the best food and medical care, these criminals could live to be 80 years old with an upkeep of $35,000 to $40,000 per year. All because our lunatic criminal justice system is aiming at some form of a utopian earthly Eden.

In classical logic where some entity is always culpable and liable and a convicted multiple murderer can sue the city and win over one million dollars, why can't the survivors of the murdered victims sue society at large for a hundred million? Didn't society unleash this primate to walk unawares among us without checking his chromosomes or giving him an EEG (electroencephalograph)?

One can tell by Conroy's strange convoluted semantics that he actually wants Wilson released--"he took up theft" and "graduated to armed robberies" sounds like someone thumbing through a college curriculum to decide what to major in. Of course he was "misdiagnosed as mentally handicapped"--those awful teachers! Then the clincher: "Wilson is a man of average intelligence"--yet he admits that he never learned to read. I thought average intelligence was what I have, but now I'm thinking that I could have been a rocket scientist.

It is just a matter of time that after someone is executed by lethal injection, a survivor is going to sue the state for using a dirty needle.

John Mayhew

W. North

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