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LETTERS: What lessons are we teaching ‘youthful’ offenders?

To the editor:

Several weeks ago my barn on Broadfield Road was broken into, vandalized and a classic Pontiac Firebird was stolen. I called the Manlius Police Department Monday at 7:30 a.m., they responded in minutes, and while I was speaking with the officer at the barn he received a call that the car had just crashed a very short distance away at the intersection of Enders Road and Pompey Center Road.

As it was a school day there were apparently many potential witnesses and up to four cars that stopped. The culprits were apparently whisked away in one of the cars and eluded the police and police chopper as well. Over the course of the next five to six weeks the MPD did their job well and located the “youthful offender” but were somewhat “handcuffed” by laws that we have in place to protect offenders that are youthful.

My concerns are definitely not with the MPD as they did an outstanding job. My concerns are with those who may have been able to identify the driver (but did not), those who gave him a ride home, and especially those who happen to be in charge of raising this “youth” (his parents). The owner of the totaled car and myself have not been contacted by this “youth” or his parents as of this time. What lesson are they teaching this “youth”?

Secondly, now that the parents have finally brought the “youth” to the MPD what will he learn now? Most likely nothing will happen, his file will be sealed and life will go on. This “youth” is good as long as he offends us while he is a youth?

What if the owners of the Edward’s Falls property, who have been doing a great job of clearing their woods on a daily basis, had decided to work in the area where the car landed? Would we as parents and our judicial system tell their family its OK, don't worry, the driver of the stolen car that landed on your loved ones was a “youthful offender”? Also interesting that “youthful” implies happiness and joy, at least in my mind.

Take from this what you will but I know that if this were my “youth” (I have three) they would be at the mercy of the property owner, car owner, and I would certainly hope that our judicial system would attempt to teach them that there are consequences form their actions. A “slap on the wrist” doesn't seem to fit the crime here, do you think?

Ed Chase is a resident of Fayetteville.

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