LETTER | When will the criminal justice system change?

By Patty Tucker

WHEN are we going to stop the senseless killing of our good citizens?

WHEN are we going to hold citizens responsible for their actions?

WHEN are we going to hold our court system to follow the penalties that juries have imposed on criminals?

This past Sunday we lost 8 of our citizens at the hands of people who should not have been allowed out on our streets. I only knew Tom and Hilda Woods but by all accounts the other 6 were just as amazing. There is no reason why all 8 of them shouldn't be here today. 4 were killed in cold blood by a criminal who has been harming people all of his adult life and belonged behind bars forever. 4 were killed by a drunk driver who probably had done this many times before.

About 1 year ago I asked Sherriff Sue Rahr what happened to the '3 strikes' law and she informed me that we couldn't afford to keep it in place. Are you kidding me? We can't afford not to. Nobody will ever convince me that it doesn't cost more to keep arresting these criminals and paying for their lawyers to defend them in court than it would to just lock them up forever. Build the prisons and we will all pay for them and save so many lives. Can you put a price tag on the lives of the wonderful folks we lost this past Sunday? I don't think so.

About 3 years ago when we lost 2 Seattle police officers in 2 different accidents, both hit and killed by drunk drivers, I asked my legislator why we allow drunk drivers to keep going out and killing people and he told me that our state has some of the toughest laws in the country. Well I don't care how tough they are because they aren't tough enough. These people keep reoffending because they only get a slap on the hand. They should be locked up forever if they take a life and at the very least they should lose their licenses forever.

As parents, most of us know that one of the most important lessons we teach our children is that there are consequenses for their actions. If the parents aren't teaching them, then our court systems should be putting them away to show them the consequences. I was taught there is nothing wrong with a little fear because it stops a lot of us from doing things that are wrong. If criminals knew they were going to be punished to the full extent of the law I bet a lot of the crimes would never be committed. As it stands now they all know the punishment will be minor and in no time at all it won't even be there.

Take my money to build more prisons. The government takes most of it now for things I don't want to pay for. The NUMBER 1 job of government is to protect it's citizens and right now they are getting a failing grade from where I stand. Our judicial system has got to start standing up for those of us who go to work everyday, raise our families, pay our taxes and try to live our lives in the best way possible.

Sincerely,

Patty Tucker