Dear Judge Chamblee,
It is impossible to truly describe the devastation that I felt when I heard the news that my father had died from this tragic accident. With his death I have lost so much, I feel as though I have lost an entire half of my past, but what hurts even more is that I have lost such a large piece of my future as well. The person whose fault this is, the person who has caused such great devastation and grief is Shane Ryan McGee whose idiotic decisions have led to this horrible event.
My father meant a lot to me, a lot to my family, but what he meant to this world does not stop there. He acted as a father to my cousins when they had none; he treated them as his own children and would often help my Aunt Mary take care of them. He would help them with their school work and would support them in the sports they took interest in. When my Uncle Mike’s children came over for the summer he would do the same for them.
My father was caring and completely devoted to his entire extended family. As devoted as he was to his family, my father went beyond what is expected from most middle class people; through his intense passion for fitness, health, the environment, and all kinds of sports he was a great part of our community. He both raced against and taught hundreds of people in paddling on the river which was his main passion. He often preached good ways to help sustain our environment so as to make the world a better place for the next generation. He was studying health at IUSB to become a nurse so that he could both support his family spend his career doing what he liked best: helping other people. In this way he inspired hundreds, possibly thousands, to aspire to the kind of people our community is in desperate need of.
Has all this been taken away? Have we lost such a great person in our society? Have I lost the chance to learn and train with my father? Have I lost the chance to learn to drive with him this year, to hug him good-bye as I go off to college, to see him smiling at my graduation? Have I lost the chance for my children to have a grandfather and even their children to see their great grandfather? Yes. We have lost all this because of the recklessness one kid who couldn’t make the right decision. When Shane chose to drink and drive he didn’t just devastate one family, he devastated an entire community.
At first my reaction was deep hate and condemnation for the idiot who killed my father; however, now that I know a little more about him, I cannot hate him. But I am angry at him and I do not forgive him, it is unthinkable for what McGee did to go unpunished. McGee must spend time in prison and take that time to reflect on what he has done. Also, even if it means having less prison time, I feel it is essential that Shane has some sort of extended probation or possibly community service after he has done his time, so that he still has a reminder of what he has done and its long term consequences.
Daniel P. Sawyer