Last Sunday I was at home with the family (the Leach family, not the Manson family) celebrating Christmas, or, more specifically, celebrating the end of the season of Christmas music. Each year I lose more of my tolerance for hearing the same, mostly dreadful, twenty songs over and over again, all day every day. Now that Christmas has passed, we get a respite until Christmas music starts inundating our senses again, usually around mid-March. Silent night indeed.
As I was cozying into my Mumu with the New York Times, I relished noticing that the weather outside was frightful, without immediately receiving an update on the status of the fire. As I sipped my vodka-infused Hard Ensure, I saw a story that made me sad, almost as sad as if I had caught a hint of a pa-rum-pa-pum-pum wafting through the room.
The story involved a man named Rogel Aguilera Mederos. He was a truck driver who lost control of his vehicle and caused an accident that wound up killing four people. While undeniably tragic, there was no allegation that Mr. Mederos intentionally caused the accident. The jury in his trail found that he was driving at a recklessly high rate of speed, although the defense disputes that. Further, when his brakes failed, he did not turn off at an escape ramp which is designed to stop trucks whose brakes have failed. Apparently brakes failing is a common thing with trucks. You’d think that if they could put a man on the moon…52 years ago….they could come up with more reliable brakes.
In any case, Mr. Mederos’ attorneys argued that he was trying to get the truck under control and just missed the ramp. That makes some sense to me in that Mr. Mederos had nothing to gain by intentionally bypassing the ramp and smashing into a mess o’cars at the bottom of the hill. It was clear that Mr. Mederos did not want the crash to happen. He was speeding and perhaps didn’t do everything that could have been done to avoid the tragic outcome. But again, this was not an intentional crime or an act of malice. Mederos was not intoxicated and was licensed to be driving the truck in question. Despite this, the crimes Mederos was convicted of required a mandatory minimum sentence of 110 years in prison.
One hundred and ten years is a long time. To give you some perspective, think of a…