Editorial: Understanding distinction of a fine line

Jul. 25, 2013 @ 11:25 PM

Citizens in Springfield, Vt., are considering how to be intelligent, yet forgiving and willing to give a second chance today.

There’s a bit higher profile case evolving in New York City as well.

In both cases, those living in the communities are considering an established pattern of behavior. They’re taking in the facts, and hopefully nothing more than that like hype, and then they’re going to make decisions.

They’ll decide how to react. They’ll decide if there is anything they can do, or what options they might have in relation to the people involved and how it might after them individually.

In Springfield, it is the release from prison today of Timothy J. Szad. He’s the 53-year-old who has served time for an aggravated sexual assault against a 13-year-old boy. His sentence was pleaded to seven to 20 years in exchange for the victim not having to testify.

Szad admits meeting the boy as a stranger in 2000, handcuffing him and sexually assaulting him twice. He could have gotten life in prison.

Springfield is Szad’s hometown. Officials there have warned the public of his release. He’ll have to comply with registering as a sex offender.

Then there’s New York, where a mayoral candidate is sexting, a modern technology form of sending sexual pictures and messages to admirers. Perhaps the name Anthony Weiner rings a bell. He’s the mayoral candidate in the city that never sleeps now accused of sexting, and he’s the same guy who two years ago resigned from Congress for sexting.

There’s a line of distinction we face daily. We want to be forgiving, we want to give second chances. And yet, we have to be wise and understand that doing so can have consequences.

The lesson isn’t limited to Vermont or New York. It includes Vance County, too. It includes Anywhere, USA. We’re governed by laws, we live according to them and the consequences shape what happens next for all of us.

We must pay attention to pattern behavior, and we must pay attention to egregious errors in judgment. One mistake should not ruin a life, but sometimes our allowance for the opportunity can be part of the cause of one taken from us.