Ditch Soering's whine
I was a UVA student at the same time as Jens Soering and thankfully never met him, but I do recall the circumstances of his situation quite well. I was appalled to read his whiny complaint about his life behind bars after his conviction [Essay: "No mercy: what Alston can expect," May 6, 2004].
His ridiculous attempt to make himself and Andrew Alston into the victims was offensive. Let's not forget that thanks to Soering and Alston, three people are dead.
He complains that no one can be allowed to think that Alston might "simply be a troubled young man who made a tragic mistake."
Each and every one of us faces people who make us angry every day, and yet we find a way to walk away and not kill these people. Alston was a bright man with the opportunity to get a wonderful education at UVA. Instead, he chose to settle a disagreement with a knife and ended another person's life.
A tragic mistake, yes, but he made the decision to take this route. Therefore, whatever punishment a jury decides to impose on him (if he's convicted) is deserved. And Soering's crime was even worse. This is a man who made a calculated decision to kill his girlfriend's parents and then fled to try to escape his punishment.
To Soering: Quit your whining and take your punishment like the tough man you thought you were when you killed two people in cold blood.