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On the front page of this week’s Enterprise, there is story about Aaron Glasscock. Did you read it? If not, I urge you to read it now. While it might seem like the script for a movie, it’s not. It’s all very real.
It’s a story I’ve wanted to write for a long time for many reasons. For starters, I went to high school with Aaron. He was a senior and I was a freshman, but we shared a French class together. He was so smart and witty. I looked up to him, in a schoolgirl crush sort of way, and I just knew he would go on to be a successful doctor or engineer (who could also speak French).
When I was in college, I remember hearing about him getting in some sort of trouble, but never really knew the details until now. To make a long story short, in March of 1999 he was arrested and later convicted for helping his father distribute cocaine. He maintains his innocence, and is serving a 30-year sentence in a federal prison in Lexington.
While Aaron is the only one who truly knows of his innocence or guilt, I can’t help but be frustrated and disgusted by the 30-year prison sentence he received. During my almost 12 years at The Lebanon Enterprise, I have written news stories about people who have committed far worse crimes and served little, if any, time in prison. I truly don’t understand a justice system that allows drunk drivers to have two, three and even four slaps on the wrist but puts a man like Aaron in prison for 30 years for allegedly being involved in a drug operation. I don’t understand a justice system that allows criminals who assault and rape children back out on the streets but puts a man like Aaron behind bars for 30 years for allegedly transporting cash in a drug deal.
Yes, I agree that drugs are bad. Distributing drugs is a crime, and it should be. I completely agree and understand that. But, is that worse than driving a car drunk and putting lives in danger? Is it worse than abusing or sexually assaulting a young child who will forever be mentally and emotionally scarred? I don’t think so. I really don’t.
I’ll be blunt. Even if Aaron was guilty of helping his father distribute money and/or cocaine, I don’t think he deserves a 30-year prison sentence. The punishment does not fit the crime, in my opinion. I, like State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, disagree with the mandatory minimum sentencing laws that require binding prison terms of a particular length for people convicted of certain federal and state crimes. These sentencing laws undermine justice by preventing judges from fitting the punishment to the individual and the circumstances of their offenses.
I know there will be people who don’t agree with me, but I honestly think we – our community, our society and our world – have missed out on a human being that could have contributed so much in so many different ways. Aaron wanted to be a doctor, and I have no doubt he would have been a great one. Who knows how many lives he could have touched… he could have saved… had he not been sentenced to prison for the majority of his adult life. For all we know, Aaron Glasscock could have discovered the cure for cancer, but instead he’s sitting behind prison walls. We’ve been cheated out of a talented, intelligent, compassionate human being… and for what? What has it accomplished?
Aaron’s mother, Pigeon Deep, is trying, for a second time, to get a pardon issued for her son. Her first request was denied a year ago, but she hasn’t given up hope. I urge our local community members, especially those who know Aaron, to write letters on Aaron’s behalf so that his mother can include them with her request for a pardon. Aaron doesn’t deserve to spend another year in prison. He’s been there for nearly 15 years. Those 15 years have been lost. But, at 37, he still has plenty of time to become a successful and giving member of our community and possibly fulfill the dream of having a family of his own. Let’s help him get that chance. A chance I truly think he deserves.
DO YOU SUPPORT AARON’S CAUSE?
Aaron’s mother, Pigeon Deep, is collecting letters written on Aaron’s behalf to use in her request for a pardon for her son. If you would like to write one, send it to Deep at 203 Hood Avenue, Lebanon, Ky 40033.