Two months ago I whined like a petulant child that James Arthur Ray was not sentenced, as scheduled, on my birthday. Considering that when he was finally sentenced on November 18, he was given the far too lenient sentence of two years minus time served, leave say, my birthday was probably the better for not knowing. I actually had a great birthday. I think it's fair to say it was a far sight better than James Ray's 54th which he celebrated last Tuesday at the Phx-Alhambra intake center, where he remains in detention, incommunicado, for two weeks before being transitioned to a state penitentiary to serve out his sentence. I'm not prone to schadenfreude but I guess there's some measure of justice in that. Does it in any way make up for three lives lost or for the devastation of three families? Absolutely not. But at least they have some measure of closure after this incredibly protracted quest for justice. Said the very articulate Ginny Brown, mother of the late Kirby Brown:
"There are no winners today," said Virginia Brown, Kirby's mother. "No sentencing can bring our daughter back, or bring Liz or James back. But at least this will be a deterrent, to Mr. Ray and to others who might think about putting people at risk. The judge referred to common sense and there was surely a lack of common sense here."
No punishment the justice system can mete out can bring back a loved one or balance any great, cosmic scale. One hopes it will go some way to protecting society, so if Ray's doing some jail time serves as a deterrent, that's an accomplishment for which prosecutors Sheila Polk, Bill Hughes, case officer Det. Diskin, and every other person who worked that long, involved case deserves a whole lot of credit. Said Det. Diskin, “I’ve been investigating this case longer than James Ray will spend in prison.”
Laugh or go mad, as they say.