November 20, 1997


Image of today's outrage

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Perhaps if we forgive others, our own sins will be forgiven. So we’re always glad to see forgiveness permeate society.

Some people say that those who kill and steal should be punished. But DO knows better. In fact, rather than punishing those who do wrong, we think they should be rewarded.

Today’s DO illustrates the virtue of forgiveness. Forgiveness needs to be shown in all strata of society, so we’re going to give you two very different examples, which we hope you can emulate.

Our first example involves a teenager from Rockville, Maryland, Timothy Rinehart. This young man plowed his car into Judith Marie Flannery. Ms. Flannery, a world class triathlete who was bicycling as part of her training, was killed instantly.

Montgomery County District Court Judge Dennis M. McHugh found the 17-year-old Rinehart guilty of six counts, ranging from reckless and negligent driving to speeding. The young man has neither ever had a driver’s license nor received any formal driver training.

Of course, it wasn’t really young Rinehart’s fault. His dad was with him in the car, and may have contributed to the accident. So Judge McHugh, in his infinite wisdom, decided that the younger Rinehart should just be able to walk away from the death of a completely innocent bicyclist.

(This judge is no softy though — he may decide that Timothy Rinehart has to do some community service. He may even put him on probation. We recommend against these harsh steps, as community service will certainly not bring Marie Flannery back to life. Nor will it assuage the grief of her family.)

Larry Black, owner of the local College Park Bicycles, was outraged: “I can’t believe he’s not getting second degree murder. I’m appalled.” Mr. Black has clearly not mastered the virtue of forgiveness.

Society has shown an admirable degree of forgiveness in allowing Timothy Rinehart to walk away from killing Judith Flannery. The board of directors of Columbia/HCA Healthcare has shown a similarly moving sympathy in the case of fraud and robbery.

You may know of Columbia — it’s the world’s largest for-profit hospital. It’s also the target of numerous fraud investigations. Three mid-level managers have been indicted on fraud charges; many others have been forced out of the company, and numerous lawsuits against the company have been filed.

Are the company’s former top officers headed for the slammer as a result of all these troubles at the organization that they managed and controlled? Perish the thought! They’re headed for the BANK.

Columbia will pay its former CEO, Richard Scott, almost $10 million as part of his separation agreement. Scott got over $5 million when he left the company in July, and he’ll receive almost a million a year for the next five years in “consulting fees.” We presume he’ll be consulting quite often with federal investigators trying to figure out where all that Medicare money went.

Former Chief Operating Officer David Vandewater is also getting forgiven in a very big way. He got a lump sum payment of $3.24 million and consulting fees of $600,000 a year for five years. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

While we think it’s great that people can rob and kill with impunity, we do have one concern: All those people who drive safely, work hard, and generally try to do their best, living honorably and honestly. We’ve got to get those SOB’s.

Quote of the Day!

My object all sublime

I shall achieve in time

— To make the punishment fit the crime.

— W. S. Gilbert, The Mikado, 1885

© Copyright 1996-98, The Outrage is produced by Athens New Media. All rights reserved.

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