Calls for changes to 'three strikes'

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 3, 2013 

By Sunday morning the news was widespread, as most of us Whatcom County residents have heard or read by now, Emma Briceno along with her family, her friends and her community are in shock because of the hit-and-run accident that has left her in the ICU at Harborview. A loving mother of three, Emma was always kind to me - I, along with many other "Meridian kids" grew up with her and have known her for more than 15 years. I'm absolutely disgusted and disheartened by this situation, in fact I can't even say it seems real. What's almost as awful as the fact that Emma's future is uncertain is the fact that this entire mess seems entirely preventable. According to The Bellingham Herald article Nov. 24 the man arrested for the crash has committed eight felonies in Whatcom County alone. One of eight just happened to be driving without a license, which he allegedly was doing early Sunday morning as he drove like a maniac through our downtown streets. One would think that this man shouldn't be out and "free" like the rest of us, that there should be a three-strike policy a la California - but there already is. However, only "most serious offenses" count towards this three-strike total. Thus, I must ask: how many chances does any individual deserve? I will spot a second chance, but certainly not a sixth, seventh or eighth. I strongly suggest we update the former Initiative 593.

John Murphy

Bellingham

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