Here's An Idea: Let's Not Let Violent Offenders Out Of Prison

Here's An Idea: Let's Not Let Violent Offenders Out Of Prison

Innocent lives are more important than violent criminals' second chances
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Recently, a beautiful, young OSU student was taken from this earth in a disgusting, violent way. Reagan Tokes was about to graduate from The Ohio State University with a degree in psychology, and a horrible man took her life, her light, and her future away from her and the world.

In July, University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin was kidnapped on a bike ride and killed. With her entire life ahead of her, her life was also stolen too soon. Another young woman's life was stripped from her by another horrible man.

These men are horrible. That is one very obvious thing that they have in common. They are selfish, violent, disgusting men who stripped women of their lives and stripped their families, their friends, and their communities of their lives as they know it.

But they have something else in common as well, something that makes these stories scarier and more heartbreaking. James Worley, who murdered Seirah Joughin, had been arrested in 1990 for kidnapping a woman on a bike. He did less than 4 years. Brian Golsby, who murdered Reagan Tokes, had been let out of prison in November 2016 for attempted rape and kidnapping.

The question is, how on earth was this allowed to happen? A man who was in jail for kidnapping a woman on a bike kidnapped a woman on a bike. A man who was in jail for attempting to rape and kidnap a woman kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered a woman. How did this happen?

In what world were these men allowed to be out of prison? How did our legal system fail us, fail the Tokes and Joughin families so bad? Frankly, I don't give a shit if they had good behavior while they were in prison. Frankly, I don't give a shit of they were the nicest damn inmate that has ever existed in the history of our American prison system. They were both in jail for violent crimes. And just because the woman escaped from Worley or because Golsby's rape and kidnapping were "attempted" does not mean that they are less dangerous. The intent is what counts, the intent is what matters.

Maybe thousands of men and women are let out of prison after their sentenced time for violent crimes and never offend again. Kidnappers, rapists and even possibly some murderers are walking around us, having done their time and will never offend again. They are rehabilitated and ready to be contributing members of society. But here's the thing: I don't care.

I don't care if leaving violent offenders in prison for their entire life strips them of their right to "try again". If you raped or kidnapped or killed someone, you don't get to try again. I don't care that there are violent offenders out in the world who are living better lives. Because if there was a rule prohibiting violent offenders from being back on the streets, Reagan Tokes and Seirah Joughin would still be alive. I'm always going to root for two beautiful, innocent women more than a rehabilitated sexual offender. I'd rather them get to live than an ex-kidnapper get the chance to try again.

Worley committed his crime in 1990, 26 years before he took the life of Seirah Joughin, before she was even born. And Golsby was let out of prison just about 4 months before he took the life of Reagan Tokes. 26 years. 4 months. There is no principle to determine whether or not or when an ex-offender will offend again. A violent crime is not a mistake, it is not something you deserve a second chance after. Because when you're in prison for trying to kidnap, rape, murder somebody, you matter less.

All of them, all ex-violent offenders can sit in prison for the rest of their lives if it means not letting the Worley's and the Golsby's offend again. All ex-violent offenders can sit in prison for the rest of their lives if it means no one going through what the Joughin's and the Tokes' are going through. Because the lives of innocent victims matter more than your ability to have a second chance.

To the Tokes and Joughin families, I have been and will be so sorry for your loss, for the pain these men have brought to you and your families, and I pray for comfort and healing to come sooner rather than later. These women were lights to their families, friends, and communities, and someone like those two disgusting men should not have been able to make those lights stop shining.


You can donate to the Tokes family's GoFundMe here and donate to "Keeping Our Girls Safe", Seirah's boyfriend Josh's non-profit organization "to increase women's safety awareness, educate women on personal self defense, and possibly fund scholarships in the future in Sierah's and Josh's name," here.

Cover Image Credit: DailyMail

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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