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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  August 8, 2010
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The next chapter.

Some would call it a tired cliche. Iíd say that itís a simple truism that bears repeating.

ďItís easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.Ē

If youíve read this column for any amount of time, you know that I see things in a mostly ďblack and whiteĒ perspective.

It comes from my upbringing. Parents, relatives, neighbors and teachers who didnít stand for a lot of foolishness. Years spent in schools that constantly repeated a theme of accountability and responsibility. A career spent doing things wherein the consequences of actions taken or avoided were presented on a fairly regular basis.

All of this is said as an introduction to my thoughts on the upcoming trial of Colton Harris-Moore.

My ďdruthersĒ as regards Mr. Harris-Moore is that he needs to be shown that his actions werenít funny, that there are consequences to be faced, and that others who might want to emulate him need to know that his isnít a path they should take.

Which is to say that I think - having once been the victim of a home burglary - that he should spend a fair number of years behind bars.

Continuing on the topic, I recently read an article in this newspaper regarding the path the defense might take in this case. Said path being that they might try to mitigate Mr. Harris-Mooreís actions by pointing out the tough time heíd had while growing up.

Fine. Have at it. Itís probably his best shot.

I donít know the particulars of the way in which he was raised, but - in counterpoint - Iíd offer that he seems to be a fairly intelligent individual. Bright, quick, and adaptable.

Intelligent enough that, somewhere along the way, he couldíve started behaving in a manner that wouldíve been productive rather than destructive.

Intelligent enough that, somewhere along the way, I believe that he couldíve said something to a teacher, minister or counselor that wouldíve opened doors for him.

Intelligent enough that, somewhere along the way, I believe that he couldíve joined groups, clubs, or organizations dedicated to steering young men down paths that build (rather than attempt to hand out) character, confidence and self-esteem.

So, even though I might have some sympathy for what he faced while growing up, it doesnít change the fact that he had choices.

He couldíve chosen to stop or not even begin to do the things he did. He couldíve spared his victims the mental, emotional, and monetary strain he placed upon them. After starting, he couldíve summoned up some courage, turned himself in, and faced the consequences of his actions before they ran to the length of a phone book.

In other words, he couldíve chosen to do the right thing. Unfortunately, he didnít and, now, a number of choices will be made for him.

There are scales that need to be balanced. There are wrongs that need to be set right. There is restitution that needs to be made. In short, Mr. Harris-Moore needs to face the consequences of the actions he took.

I accept the fact that he shouldnít be buried in some dungeon for the remainder of his days even though I have a darker side that keeps whispering otherwise. That said, neither do I donít want to see his trial turned into either a circus or a Kleenex tissue advertisement.

Too, Iíd offer that any money that comes from any movies or books recounting his escapades should go to reimbursing his victims for their losses. That there will be books and movies doesnít really sit well with me but, times being what they are, I guess itís to be expected.

Like many, Iíll follow the trial hoping that some measure of justice is meted out to him and, should he get to spend a few years behind bars, I hope that he uses that time to contemplate all thatís happened.

But thatís up to him.

And thatís what itís always been about, hasnít it? Part of growing up is learning to accept that we are responsible for the things we do.

Itís just sad that the emphasis society once placed upon that idea - and others like it - sure seems to have gone missing lately.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

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Copyright © 2010 by Larry Simoneaux
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