My Turn: With deepest respect, admiration, love

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Dear Martin and Ladd,

Yep, it's me again. I know we talk a lot, but this time I must put it on paper to share our thoughts with others. I know you won't mind.

Michael Glaser wants his sentence reduced. You never met the man, but you know the name. He's the one who killed you both, and injured Steve, while driving drunk April 19, 2000. I've never met him either; I hope I never do, especially on the road.

Remember when we met, Martin? You were the director and came behind the counter, I stopped you and said "Sir, you're not allowed back here, this is a secured area." My supervisor was embarrassed that I tried to kick out the director! You were very kind, saying I was just doing my job, then politely introduced yourself.

And Ladd, you were gone for several years but came back to our division, as our receptionist, and did your job with a smile! Remember Halloween when your co-workers dressed like you?

We could go on for days with "remember when's" but it doesn't ease the emptiness. There's something missing at the office picnic, the picnic you started, Martin, so we could be more than just co-workers, so we could know one another as people, not as a collection officer or a clerk. Is it any wonder we have such little turnover, that people wait for openings to work with us? It's from what you instilled in us, and showed us by example. You never asked any one of us to do something you weren't willing to do yourself. Things you taught me, I practice daily, teach my children. People I meet learn from you by how I treat them. Your example lives on in everyone who ever met you.

The most ironic thing is that Glaser was a commercial fisherman, and the three of you worked long and hard on behalf of all commercial fishers. The reason you were on that road was because of your years of dedication to helping people in Glaser's chosen profession.

The newspapers say Michael Glaser is remorseful, he knows what he did was wrong, but his sentence is too long. I'd like to ask him how long my sentence should be? How long should your wives' sentences be, to have lost their husbands, soul mates, best friends? How long should the sentence be for your brothers and sisters, your children, your grandchildren? We were sentenced to life without parole. Thanks to Michael Glaser's inability to wait until he's home to get drunk. Thanks to his knowing what he did was wrong, and doing it anyway. His remorse doesn't make it OK. His remorse doesn't ease our pain.

The laws we have may not be perfect, may not be just to everyone's satisfaction, but it's what we have to work with. And Michael Glaser was sentenced within the law. His original sentence was 55 years, he already has 33 years suspended, he should be thankful for that and serve his time. Then, when he's out, he should think every day about what he did to us. We can't plead to anyone to reduce our sentence.

I know what you're thinking, I should turn the other cheek and think about the Glaser family. That's one of things we all love about you both, your compassion for others. I understand they are hurting too, and I truly do feel for them. But they have him now and will get him back at the end of his sentence. What do we get?

The judge can't possible fathom the number of lives you both have touched, or the number of lives you'll never touch. Maybe he'll see that you've touched his life, examine how you've affected him and realize this is not just another DWI.

Judge Link has the facts. The fact is this was no accident. Glaser made a decision to drive drunk, undeniably drunk - with a blood alcohol level of .247, more than three times the current legal limit. The fact is it really doesn't matter who he killed, Michael Glaser killed two innocent people, seriously injured another, and devastated hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents left behind. The fact is Glaser was sentenced to a term within the law, and there is no fathomable reason to reduce it even one day. The fact is, Martin and Ladd, you're still gone, no longer here to share your wit and wisdom, your humor, your compassion, you're still gone.

Darcy Stetson of Juneau is a state employee.

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