On Dec. 18 you ran an article on the second-degree murder conviction of James Masoner for the death of Jessica Shaner.
One of the major factors not discussed in this article, which we feel is vital to understanding this violent crime, is the choice Masoner made.
When James Masoner started his day on March 4, 1987, he knew what business functions he would be attending and he, at some earlier time, made the decision to drink and drive. He never intended to do anything different. He made that decision starting at lunch and never looked back.
If you compare the deaths and injuries caused nationally by impaired drivers (about 523,000) to airplane crashes (with occupancy of 400 people), it would equal more than 25 plane crashes each and every week! How long would it take for the American people to get serious about that kind of death and injury toll?
While we are relieved to see this crime getting in depth coverage, our other concern is that the citizens reading this don't become complacent that such criminals are being dealt with appropriately in the courts. That is not the case. James Masoner's case is not the norm yet.
Citizens need to take an active role in stopping this crime starting with themselves and their families and ending with public involvement. Just because it has not affected you yet doesn't mean it won't someday. Just ask the Shaners or any of the countless families in their position--the position in which the James Masoners of this world put people. Now it is time for Mr. Masoner to be put where he belongs for committing such a violent crime.
Director of Victim Services
Los Angeles Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD)