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As I see it

“My object all sublime / I will achieve in time / to make the punishment fit the crime / the punishment fit the crime.”

These are the words of the Mikado in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of that name. In light of some of the criminal activities that have been in the news lately, maybe it is time we made the punishment fit the crime right here in the good old US of A.

What immediately comes to mind is the vicious attack by Vancouver Canuck forward Todd Bertuzzi on Colorado Avalanche rookie Steve Moore, which left Moore with two fractured vertebrae and a concussion.



Professional hockey seems to cater to violence in an attempt to titillate the fans who must find the game too boring without a few fights (which the officials stand around and watch with approval).

But hockey is by no means alone. In professional football, one way of winning the game is to put key players of the opposing team out of the game by fair means or foul.



The punishment for any attack intended to cause an incapacitating injury could easily be made to match the crime. The player who is guilty of such an attack should be suspended for as long as the victim is unable to return to the game. That would mean that if the injury was career-ending, the perpetrator’s career would also be terminated.

Throughout sports, both professional and amateur, there is the scandal of growing use of drugs, both performance-enhancing and recreational.

The use of recreational drugs should be grounds for banning the user from sports for anywhere from one to 10 years, depending on the flagrance of the circumstances.

And the use of performance-enhancing drugs should ban the user for life, and expunge his or her name from the record books. The record of anyone whose performance was due to the use of these drugs is not the record of their performance, but is the record of the drug’s effect, and should not be recognized.

All too often, the sports world responds to these offenses with a mere slap on the wrist ” a token suspension or a token fine.

After all, these athletes are being paid millions of dollars a year and it would be a major blow for them to be separated from that income, and for the team owners to see the return on their multi-million-dollar investments diminished by the removal of some key players from their teams.

The fact that big money is involved should impose greater responsibility on the players, the managers, and the team owners. And the potential loss of that big money would hopefully be an inducement for them to straighten up and fly right.

Two other groups involved in illegal activities are poachers shooting game out of season, and users of off-highway vehicles violating road closures and wilderness areas.

The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management should be given the authority that some other agencies have, to confiscate all equipment used in committing the offense, and in the case of poachers, revoking their hunting privileges for life.

The equipment which would be subject to confiscation would include guns,

4-wheel-drive vehicles, ATVs, trailers, trucks, campers or anything else used in committing the crime.

This would do more than send a powerful message; the proceeds from sale of the confiscated equipment could cover the cost of enforcement, and the punishment would fit the crime.

And finally there’s the case of the

l9-year old who stole puppies from an animal shelter, doused them with accelerant, and set them on fire. Maybe applying blow-torches to his feet would qualify as making the punishment fit the crime.

Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.


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