In February 2012, T. J. Lane entered the cafeteria of Chardon High School and opened fire, killing three innocent boys.
During his sentencing last month, he took off his dress shirt to proudly reveal a white T-Shirt with the word “Killer” scrawled across the front.
At one point, he turned toward the families of his victims and quipped, “The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory.”
He punctuated this statement by cursing and raising his middle finger to the families, victimizing them once again.
All should applaud the discipline of every parent in that courtroom for not rushing the suspect and pummeling him to death in front of the cameras. Kudos go out to those two officers of the court who bracketed him. They maintained a professional presence throughout the incident.
Here is a troubling observation, however. In spite of his crimes and his lack of remorse, T. J. Lane did not receive the maximum penalty for his crimes. This sentencing and video will only serve to inspire more of his ilk to follow his path.
How Do You Deal With Evil?
Active shooters are an evil that has gone viral. This phenomenon has caused a great national debate as the country desperately searches for solutions.
I would like to put forward one response option inspired by watching the Lane sentencing debacle. I would hope that all 50 state legislatures could adopt this proposal to add one more tool in the tool box to be used against the active shooter.
State legislatures should create “Murder-Free Zones.” Examples of places to be considered as “Murder-Free Zones” would be traditional active shooter targets such as:
• Schools • Hospitals, clinics, and care facilities • Churches, temples, mosques and synagogues • Theatres • Shopping malls • Government buildings
A Murder-Free Zone Law would create a penalty enhancer declaring that everyone, who is charged with first degree murder in one of these zones, must be tried as an adult regardless of age.
If the killer is convicted for First Degree Murder committed in a Murder-Free Zone, the law would require:
1.) A mandatory death sentence in states with that option 2.) A fast-tracked appeal process (no more than one year from conviction to execution) 3.) Mandatory life without parole for those states that do not have the death penalty option 4.) Insanity plea would be unavailable in the case of planned and targeted homicides
Extremism, or Justice?
State legislatures without the death penalty option should consider re-establishing it for killings in these cases.
No matter how one feels about the death penalty, everyone must should see the footage of T.J. Lane in court and picture themselves on the receiving end of such behavior after losing a son or a daughter. Throughout the hearing, Lane played the role of the proverbial “punk” to perfection.
For those who think punishment by death excessive, I will end with the words of the late Senator Barry Goldwater.
“Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
About the author
Lt. Dan Marcou retired as a highly decorated police lieutenant and SWAT Commander with 33 years of full time law enforcement experience. He is a nationally recognized police trainer in many police disciplines and is a Master Trainer in the State of Wisconsin. He has authored three novels The Calling: The Making of a Veteran Cop , S.W.A.T. Blue Knights in Black Armor, and Nobody's Heroes are all available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Visit his website and contact Dan Marcou