This is about a little girl who lived next door.

I knew her since she was a toddler. She babysat for both my children. Then she grew up to become a lovely woman, went to college, married, moved to the next town, and had two children of her own.

While I didn't see much of her in recent years, from time to time I'd hear how she often brought hope and joy to her students with her kindness. She brought joy to the world not only with her paintings, but also with that warm smile which instantly lit up her face and irradiated everyone she met. I was not surprised by these stories, because, without exaggeration, I cannot recall ever meeting a person who was as kind, as gentle, or as sweet as she.

For the past several hours, I've been grappling with and unable to accept the fact that she will no longer be able to do any of these things, and that no one will ever again have their spirits lifted by that sweet smile. I am having very great difficulty controlling my rage and frustration, regarding the sub-animal creature deliberately stole life from her & stole her from the lives of others.

The police call it "murder". I do not. Murder is when one person kills another person. Whoever did this has no claim to the term "person". Even using the word "animal" for him would grievously insult all the mammals, birds, and other vertebrae that inhabit the forest in which this spineless invertebrate dumped her lifeless body.

Once in a while we are faced with the repressed truth that there exist vile creatures who linger in the trash-strewn gutters, lurk behind filthy garbage cans, or even stalk with automobiles. Such vermin are sometimes bold enough to come out briefly into the light and pounce upon an isolated victim. Then, they drag their prey back into the woods, far away from the human race to which they can never belong.

I am tortured by quickly-suppressed imagined glimpses of her beautiful smile transformed into very different facial expressions due to circumstances which I cannot bring myself to contemplate.

As a committed Libertarian, I have always supported and defended the Bill of Rights, even for proven criminals. Now, I think I can no longer support the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment; it should be amended so as not to apply after conviction for violent crime. Mere capital punishment is far too little, too insufficient to merit the name "justice".

If and when this monster is apprehended and convicted, wouldn't it be more appropriate for the courts to do nothing at all to him? Just release him back into the world, stripped of the privileges and protections which law and society grant to citizens, by denying other courts jurisdiction over anything which the survivors might decide to do to him. (If they wished to keep portions of him alive just long enought to supply transplants to save other lives, then so be it. That might approach justice; so might enslavement in chains or use as cat food. Who am I to decide? Why should anyone else have the right to decide his fate, other than his victims?!)

While the perpetrator of this despicable act must be caught and made to pay the full price (at least!), I cannot help thinking that there are reasons other than his depravity which allowed this to happen in the first place. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [copyright 1997 B.A.Martin]

In my opinion, there are several things . . .
  • which ought not to be,
  • which might have prevented tragedies like this, had they been otherwise.
  • which are under the control of the people,
  • and which can be changed at the ballot box and other political means,
Here are a few examples:

On the day of this incident (but before anyone learned of it) I passed two opposite-facing police cars in a parking lot along Route 25. The uniformed officers were talking to each other, perhaps glancing up now and then so that they might catch a car going over 45 on the lightly-travelled highway. Little did they know what was happening along a road only a few miles away, where police cars rarely travel. It is much easier and safer for the occupants (and more profitable for the county) to park rather than cruise, and to safeguard the public against non-wearers of seatbelts rather than to protect against other criminals whose actions are aimed at hurting others.

The two police cruisers were still parked there, when I returned from my errand. Further along Rte. 25, I passed yet another police car parked and waiting. Obviously, waiting for traffic violations is far easier than patrolling for crime. Besides, it's safer, requires less thought, and is more convenient to coffee and donuts. As long as a violent felon avoids speeding between attacks, he is likely to remain unobserved and undisturbed by police in this county.

Of course, at the time I passed these three armed, trained protectors in their parked county cars, neither I nor they knew what was occurring on the virtually unpatrolled through-road a few miles away. (I suppose it is fortunate that I was then still unaware. Otherwise, had I stopped to discus the matter with some of Suffolk's finest, they might have reacted to cause me further grief.)

This morning, I listened further details of the tragedy on the radio. The next news item reported a 14% drop in crime in New York City -- the city from which I had moved over three decades ago partly because of its crime rate. Now I don't mean to suggest that Suffolk is anywhere close to the city in this regard, but the item made me recall some of the differences between the two police forces and their approach to violent crime.

In New York City, a uniformed organization, apart from the police force, deals with parking and minor traffic infractions. In Suffolk County, we see armed and well-trained members of one of the nation's highest-paid police forces regularly cruising shopping centers to find expired registration stickers or hunkering down in parked cruisers on the median of the expressway in the hope of catching someone riding alone in the HOV lane.

I have always had a high regard for the police officers and for police work. I still do -- at least when their managers allow them to do their principal job, which is to PRESERVE AND PROTECT the liberties of peaceful individuals. Traffic detail is simply not police work, and it is unconscionable that so many police officers are assigned to this revenue-enhancing activity, at the expense of the victims of real crimes which their presence on patrol might well have deterred. . . . . . . . . [copyright 1997 B.A.Martin]

The only times we hear of substantial police presence in Suffolk (other than for warrantless searches at roadblocks or similar traffic/revenue-enhancement projects), is when the powers that be decide to stage a hightly-publicized drug raid. Sure, a crack house is an awful blot on a neighborhood, but the only one who might conceivably be hurt or killed by a crack house is some fool who volunteered to participate!

Meanwhile, the insane and pointless "Drug War" diverts police activity away from deterring real crimes with real victims, such as violent attacks upon an innocent, peaceful person who never volunteered to be a victim. In New York State, half the jail cells are filled with non-violent drug offenders, while violent felons are routinely released. Due to "overcrowding", they are sent forth to roam the unpatrolled roads in search of more victims for their repeat offenses.

Each prison cell occupied by a non-violent junkie means one more mugger, rapist, murderer, or whatever on the loose.

Another role which the current Suffolk County Police Department has arrogated unto itself is that of denying pistol permits to those law-abiding citizens whose faith in the police's ability to protect them is inadequate, and who wish to exercise their second-amendment rights to own a weapon with which they can protect themselves and their loved ones.

If even one percent of the solitary female joggers in this county chose to be armed (and were allowed their choice), a lurking cretin could never be quite sure what was hidden in the waistband of those sweatpants. That uncertainty, alone, could be a deterrent sufficient to save a life now and then.

Now, it is quite possible that the little girl next door may have chosen not to carry a pistol, even while jogging along a lonely road. But we'll never know. The right to make this choice for herself was taken from her - not by her assassin but by the Police Commissioner, himself! Yes, this so-called public servant has deemed that she and others like her would pose a danger to the community, by legally obtaining a weapon with which to protect themselves and their babies from attack. The same official charged with protecting the peaceful, law-abiding citizens of this county is the one who unilaterally decided they must be forced to travel the roads unarmed, and that he has more right to make this choice for them than they do for themselves. I can't imagine a sadder, more ironic conflict of interest.

We will never know whether or not she would have applied for a permit, had they been available in our county. She might also have chosen to procure a weapon for those nights when her husband was out and only she might be standing between her babies and whatever lurked in the woods surrounding their house? No, we will never know, and it is really none of our business what she or any other peaceful citizen would choose to do. These are private, personal decisions, which should be made only by the persons involved -- not by someone else. Neither you nor I have the right to make such decisions for another person, nor can we justify forcing our own choices upon her by using the might of government.

Alas, she never had that option! The right to make such choices for herself was taken from her -- NOT by the fiend who took her life, but by the policies set by the Commissioners of the very Police Department which was entrusted to protect her.

As a result, the cowardly lurker can depend on his prospective victim being completely disarmed, while he sneaks up unobserved. The authorities have assured him and guaranteed it! . . . . . . . . [copyright 1997 B.A.Martin]

A modified version of the above was published by Suffolk Life, in June 1997.

The attached is a personal expression of my private thoughts about a recent incident, and does not speak for anyone else. It is being submitted for consideration as an opinion piece, guest editorial, or featured letter. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction in full, or with minor editing but no loss of context nor omission of major points; excerpts are not permitted, but I am willing to discuss other editing possibilities.

P.S. This was written prior to the identification and capture of the alleged slimeball, but that really changes nothing, so I have left the piece as it was.

					Bruce A. Martin
					P.O.Box 456
					Middle Island, NY  11953

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