When is enough, enough? According to court records, Dante Piggee has racked up 50 criminal charges since he embarked on the wrong path in elementary school. Fifty.
The Seattle Times reports Piggee's record included a conviction for second-degree murder of a woman outside a high school when he was merely 18 years old.
His latest offense, though, just breaks a mother's heart: Drunk driving with his two small children in the car. Reports state that after driving at a reckless speed, Piggee ended up forcefully hitting a parked BMW.
Instead of waiting for an ambulance and without knowing the full extent of any injuries his children might have sustained, a witness saw Piggee snatch his two children out of the car "and [swing] both of them on his shoulders like [a] sack of potatoes." With blood dripping from his nose, he ran.
He was arrested blocks away, confused and inebriated. He couldn't even remember the names or ages of his own children.
So my question is when do we say lock up these criminals and throw away the key? I would think that would have been when he was 18 and shot a girl in the back twice while getting off a school bus before classes? Or perhaps after one of his other convictions, which include second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, and a violation of a protection order? Maybe his involvement in violent gangs and drug activity should have sent him to the slammer for good?
Or even after 30 criminal offenses? Forty? Honestly, I think we as a society are far too forgiving these days. We focus on rehabilitation rather than justice. I voted for the three strikes law when I lived in California just for this purpose.
Apparently in Washington, no such luck. Is anyone else reminded of Maurice Clemmons? Remember him? You know ... the murderer with an extensive criminal past who gunned down four police officers in cold blood last year. Clemmons was granted clemency for his 95-year life sentence, even though past crimes included aggravated robbery and theft, only to continue a life of crime. Just a short time before he ambushed the police officers, he was arrested and charged in Pierce County, Washington, for third-degree assault of a police officer and second-degree rape of a child. However (surprise!), he was released from county jail the week before his killing spree, despite facing eight felony charges.
Now with Piggee, it seems like deja vu. Authorities seem to have learned nothing from the Clemmons case. Washington is plagued with activist judges and there seems to be an unlimited number of offenses these judges will allow with parole. The latest judge let Piggee make bail on his 50th lifetime criminal charge, despite prosecutors' recommendations. Will it take until he kills another child -- perhaps his own -- before we say enough??
My friends, when do we as a society say enough is enough, lock the door, and throw away the key?
Image via amanderson2/Flickr