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.