Justice, vengeance, and personal responsibility

Dear Editor,
Ms. Bellis certainly has my sympathy for the loss of her husband. As she stated in her letter to the editor last week, not only did she lose her husband but also her best friend. No one can deny the gravity of such a loss.
But I question her characterization of Craig Mosher as some sort of misanthrope who orchestrated this unfortunate tragedy. He is not Satan or Beelzelbub. We have not yet heard his side of the story.
Statements like: “The crash that took my husband’s life and the resulting criminal case has everything to do with extreme reckless conduct and gross negligence. It has nothing to do with farming, especially since Mr. Mosher is not a farmer. His bull was a pet, not a farm animal” show a disconnect between Ms. Bellis’ personal need for another pound of Mosher’s flesh (a civil lawsuit has already been settled) and the ramifications of this prosecution for livestock and animal owners of any stripe, whether they be farmers or pet owners. The law does not make that distinction when it applies liability to the animal’s owner.
Ms. Bellis is trying to disclaim this vindictive prosecution as not having anything to do with farmers, yet this case will affect all farmers with livestock. It will affect their insurance rates, the cost of fencing, and has already created the fear of prosecution if their animal is involved in some malady as befell the Bellises.
I hesitate to bring up these as yet unanswered questions because I do not want to be seen as trying to blame the victim, but if the Bellis’ car was only traveling 35-40 m.p.h. on a relatively well lit major state highway posted at 50 m.p.h., why is it they couldn’t avoid an apparently stationary (“bull was standing”) object in the road? The road is plenty wide and while the bull was big, it was not big enough to block half the road, never mind the whole road. Is it because the driver was distracted, tired at the end of a 3-hour drive, or because of his age, 62, somewhat night blind? Witness accounts state the Bellis’ car never braked.
“An American Medical Association (AMA) statement notes that the large number of senior drivers is a public health issue, because of age-related declines in vision, cognition and motor function.”
According to the AMA, these factors make older drivers “vulnerable to crashes in complex situations that require good visual perception, attention and rapid response.”
I think Ms. Bellis should deeply contemplate the realities of the situation beyond herself. While she may find vengeance in the law, because of our justice system, which relies heavily on precedents and case law, millions of people will be affected. While she may find some temporary solace, it will not bring back Jon. And, maybe, just maybe, there are some personal accountability issues that should be reflected upon as well.
Vito Rasenas, Killington

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