Picture courtesy of Bees Kitchen
Noted to be at a location in Farmington, Mo of a mid-morning in December, Scott Master walked into the store. A nod to chilly weather, Masters wore a hooded sweatshirt, a sweatshirt which among other things had ample pockets. Oblivious to the fact that within the span of a few months he would become world-renown, he strolled the aisles of the quiet store and then approached the donut case. He gazed at the sugary morsels. The sign posted over the donut case read: 52 cents each. I’m not sure about this part, but I suspect that standing stock still, he turned his head in all directions, checking to see if he were observed as he considered the deed. Thinking it to be an unnoticed move, he reached in his hand and grabbed one of the freshly fried donuts.
Safe now, he supposed, no one having raised an alarm, he casually moved past the seven green checkout lanes. He walked the space between the customer service desk and the pharmacy heading for the side exit. Had he raised his head as he walked through the door, he would have seen a large sign reading Country Mart Thanks You.
The clerk was named Gibbs and she had seen it all. “I saw him take a donut,” she said to a co-worker. “Let’s see if he pays for it.” He didn’t pay. The co-worker followed him to the parking lot and suggested Master go back into the store. Masters declined, offering instead the donut in question. She declined, grabbed Master’s arm, and a tussle ensued. The police were called, and Masters was arrested.
The push is being treated as minor assault, which transforms a misdemeanor shoplifting charge to a strong armed robbery with a potential prison term of five to 15 years. Given Masters’ criminal past, prosecutors could boost that sentence to 30 years to life.
The 41-year-old Masters has been arrested more than a dozen times for crimes ranging from shoplifting to drug possession to torching a car for insurance fraud.
On this site and in my personal life I often rant about the decline of our society, about liberal judges, about undisciplined young people, about the lack of enforcement of our laws, and about prison sentences so light and inappropriate they are laughable. Now, what do I say? How would I judge Masters were I so asked? Should a man actually go to prison for 30 years because he stole a 52 cent donut? But wait, it’s not just the donut. He is a repeat offender. He should be taught a lesson. He should pay for his crimes. But isn’t such a sentence excessive? Are the prisons too full to hold a donut thief? What about community service? Does this punishment fit the crime? Is this what we really want? Would it be downright silly to lock up a donut thief for 30 years? Is this another example of the judicial system gone wrong? But can I have it both ways? Should the clerk have chased down the donut thief in the first place? Well, why not? He stole a donut, didn’t he?
I don’t know. You tell me. 🙂
EDIT 8:30 Thursday Here is a case that may be harder to judge than the previous one–a much more serious case.
The father of a 14-year-old Texas girl who was raped, sodomized and then strangled with a belt and shoe laces, wants to know why President Bush supports halting the execution of the Mexican national who confessed to killing his daughter and her friend.
Warning: You will need a strong stomach to consider all the details. Read the entire article here.
My devotional is here.