Letters:This wheelchair-bound prisoner can't go anywhere — but the state won't let him out

"Wheel Man," Alan Prendergast, June 24

No Soft Cell

With a billion-dollar shortfall coming up in the next year, how much is higher education going to be cut to keep up with the Department of Corrections' budget? Let Darrell Havens's family take care of him...because really, what does it matter if he gets out now or in five years? Besides the money it saves, of course.

Pam Clifton


This is not a parole issue. This is a problem with a $.40 solution: one 9mm round to this dopey criminal's head. It's a win/win. Dopey Darrell is out of prison and we taxpayers are off the hook.

Scott Davis


This article was great in that it went into quite a bit of detail. It's obvious this kid is no choirboy, but it also reflects some major problems we have today. The biggest problem here sounds like the drugs; take those out of this equation and we probably have a completely different story. It also sounds like we have a desperate troubled kid and a legal system bent on vengeance. The kid has to be caught — and when you set up a situation like they did, you have to figure now and then it's going to backfire. In defense of the police, they have a job to do. In defense of the kid, that seems like a pretty hefty price, whether it was his fault or not. The troubling thing about our society is that we have lost the ability to forgive or issue a second chance.

I have never been in trouble with the law, but I do know a couple of people who have. What I have learned through their experience is that our laws no longer look at each case for what it is; rather, they look at everyone in the same bad light, regardless.

This normally results in people being branded, labeled or punished more severely than necessary. There is probably a reason the U.S. leads the world in per capita prison population; this is one example. The bottom line is that as long as nobody is willing to give an inch, these situations will continue to happen. For what it's worth, I teach in an apprenticeship program and have one particular person who had been in trouble quite often a while back. When I asked him what the difference between then and now is, he replied, "Once I was lucky enough to get a good job, I no longer had to steal things. I didn't realize how easy it is to stay out of trouble when you have a decent job and career path." He is one of the lucky ones; most people don't receive the chance to right their ship.

That's where we miss the boat in the DOC. Those people are not truly interested in helping people; they look at inmates or parolees as maggots who deserve nothing but bad luck and hatred from society. I often wonder how some of our tough guys who want to crucify people would feel when it's someone they love. They should be careful how they approach this: You never know when that maggot you want hung will be someone you care about.

Karma, I believe we refer to it as.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: For more, much more, on Alan Prendergast's "Wheel Man," read the comments posted at

"Meals on Wheels," Laura Shunk, June 3

Wheeling and Dealing

Cool concept from an urban-planning perspective, too. The park is slipping into under-utilization and could potentially become a place where only shady characters hang out. So, how do you bring life back to an area without investing millions in new buildings or infrastructure? Those mobile food trucks are a really cool solution. It seems like it is appropriate for the area as well, as opposed to putting an expensive gourmet food truck in a lower-income area. So the park has new life, the food vendors have a chance to thrive, and businesses around the park will surely benefit from the increased foot traffic there as well.

An example of food fostering community.

Lauren Smith


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