Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Not all humans are redeemable
Sometimes the individual news stories blend into one big, terrible mess, and I find it hard to remember which despicable human being is responsible for which despicable act.
Nationally, we have the bizarre fellow with the orange-dyed hair (supposedly to resemble the Joker figure from Batman) who opened fire in a crowded Colorado theater.
Locally, we have the Exeter Hospital worker who is alleged to have infected untold numbers of people here and in quite a few other states with hepatitis C. If the charges are true, this guy ranks right up there with the Colorado creep.
The guy in Exeter may not have taken any lives, but he has certainly harmed the quality of life for many. For sheer lack of caring, it's hard to beat someone who would take drugs that were supposed to go to relieve others' pain and instead leave them his infected needles.
I would like to see these two jokers spend the rest of their lives locked in the same small cell, perhaps sharing very big needles. But I'm guessing the movie mass murderer will eventually face the death penalty while New Hampshire's version of Typhoid Mary will spend decades behind bars.
We published a two-part series a week ago on recidivism in New Hampshire's state prison. That is the rate at which convicts who are released later return to prison for one reason or another. Like the rest of the country, that rate is pretty high here.
I suppose one sure way to lessen the rate would be to lock everyone up for life. But that would be wrong.
Monsters like the two mentioned here are not worth a second chance. Child molesters, too, are nearly impossible to set straight.
Most everyone else, though, deserves a second chance at some point (with time served and restitution paid) to prove themselves. All of us are fallible, after all.
Write to Joe McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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