Friday, February 25, 2011
Californians of a certain age remember the day 26 children vanished.
In July 1976, three men ambushed a school bus in Chowchilla, California and kidnapped all 26 children on board and their driver. They drove their victims around for 11 hours, then entombed them in a truck buried underground and demanded a $5 million ransom from the state of California.
After 16 hours underground, the driver and some of the older boys were able to escape and summon help. The children were all returned to their families physically unharmed, and the three kidnappers were captured and sentenced to life in prison.
The kidnappers have consistently been denied parole, but this week the kidnappers' supporters held a rally in San Francisco urging that they be granted parole.
According to one of the kidnappers' supporters, retired California Appellate Court Judge William Newsom, "nobody was physically injured, that's a huge factor in the case."
It's true, no one was physically injured, but the kidnappers should not receive credit for dumb luck. The kidnappers brandished firearms during the ordeal, and left their victims sealed underground in an 8 x 16 tomb; the event could have easily resulted in the deaths of those children and their bus driver.
Scott Handleman, a kidnapper's attorney, stated that "vengeance is a luxury California can no longer afford."
Granted, California does have some budgetary issues, and there are many things we can't afford, such as our bloated bureaucracy and the cost of delivering social services to illegal aliens. But as a California taxpayer, I am delighted to think that my remittances may be contributing to the continued confinement of these three men.
It's costing about $50,000 a year to keep each of these kidnappers confined, and I am happy to pay my share. Shiny steel handcuffs, new cotton jammies, colorful plastic trays to hold USDA surplus foodstuffs, let me know what you need to keep them behind bars and I will write a check. April 15 will become a day of celebration.
One of the few things state government ought to pay for is keeping filth like that behind bars, forever. Vengeance is the last thing that ought to be cut from the budget.
The kidnappers are Richard Schoenfeld, James Schoenfeld, and Frederick Woods. They should never, ever walk free.