A tragic accident occurred in Atlanta. A promising young hockey player, just a year or so removed from Rookie of the Year and scoring a bucket of goals in the All Star Game, runs his Ferrari into a wall at 80 mph. It’s not as tragic as it could have been; he’s only got a broken jaw, but his passenger is in critical condition with a fractured skull. They’re lucky to be alive, and with any luck they’ll remain so.
But here come the prosecutors….
Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley was charged Tuesday with reckless driving for veering off a road and slamming his sportscar into a wall at about 80 mph — a crash that left him with a broken jaw and teammate Dan Snyder critically injured with a skull fracture.
Heatley was also charged with serious injury by vehicle, a felony, and three other misdemeanors — driving too fast for conditions, driving on the wrong side of the road and striking a fixed object, according to the police.
Striking a fixed object?
Once again, the legislators in their attempts to do something! about crime have given prosecutors bolts of felonies and swatches of misdemeanors to properly accessorize every ill event. Instead of double jeopardy, we have a larger charge accompanied by an exploded view of its component parts. Common sense would indicate that reckless driving comprises driving too fast, leaving your lane, changing lanes without use of the directional signal, and then striking a fixed object, or maybe just narrowly avoiding a fixed object which is a undoubtedly a lesser charge. But before the myopic eyes of the law, these are all crimes in and of themselves.
Kind of like when an estranged husband shoots his wife and gets murder one, using a gun in the commission of a murder, using bullets in the commission of a felony, disturbing the peace, and failure to pay future child support. Slap enough coats of felony on anything, and it will look guilty.
So in addition to having to live with the emotional consequences of his actions, Heatley’s now eligible for a Gordie Howe length career in the penal hockey league. Prosecutors will say that these tough laws will make kids think twice about believing they’re immortal and driving fast. Because kids have already discounted their own deaths and the crippled and crushed bodies of their friends and have have dismissed the deterent within those threats; a couple years in jail? That’s real to the young.
Criminey, the first person to run for office with the stated goal of eliminating three quarters of our redundant and superfluous laws earns my indentured servitude. I am getting tired of having my personal attorney preceding me everywhere and identifying each and every infraction I might commit and running the complex multiplication necessary to determine my total sentence if I jaywalk and cross outside a designated crosswalk at the same time while walking an unlicensed bike.