Jeanette Sliwinski will be released from prison next month, after serving three years of an eight-year sentence for killing Michael Dahlquist, Doug Meis, and John Glick; the Trib article explains why she’s getting out so early.
I suspect the immediate reaction (as it was when she was found guilty of reckless homicide rather than murder) will be anger and revulsion, and I’m not sure exactly why. Not in the sense that I think that’s the wrong reaction, but in that I, personally, don’t know how to react, either way. That I didn’t know any of the victims, unlike so many people, certainly factors in. Never having lost anyone I know to the acts of another I can’t honestly see it from that angle.
The case really is at the intersection of possibly unanswerable questions–whether the incarceration should be punitive, rehabilitative, and/or protective (I suspect the answer is probably “all of the above,” but that just complicates things further), the relationship between intent and mental state, the timeframe in which intent and responsibility can be established, and so forth.
The most interesting piece about the tragedy that I’ve read is “Collision Course” by Noah Isackson from the August issue of Chicago Magazine. There’s a lot less discussion of the legal questions than I would have wanted, and which I hope to poke around about myself, but it’s a moving and comprehensive overview with well-wrought details; the one that got me was this:
“Doug Meis was also a drummer. As a kid growing up in Oak Harbor, Washington, Meis would practice beating his hands against his skinny chest even as he lay in bed. On weekends, he would don a pair of soundproof headphones, tune a radio to the local alternative rock station 107.7 FM, and from noon to 7 p.m. drum to whatever music he heard on the radio.”