Heal the scars
April 20, 2003
Anthony Rizzuto deserves parole and probation. Three years of hard time has been served. There are no “throw away” people.
The high school gang that comitted the robberies were all juveniles that had never lived independently. They were not adults.
I speak to the three young men still in prison regularly. Everything a young man must learn about respect for community, value of family and obligation to society is evidenced in their voices.
Aspen has made progress since the days when snowboarding and skateboarding were illegal in Aspen, when the kids who did it were labeled as criminals. The skateboard park is the most heavily used facility of all the Aspen parks.
The community has taken the right step to assist the youth in our community and through proactive support for youth programs that will stop problems before they start spiraling out of control.
The Aspen Skiing Co. has radically embraced the snowboarders once considered vandals and criminals. Look at the success of the X Games, Spring Jam and the U.S. Snowboard finals.
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In addition to the skateboard park, our community has invested in a new clubhouse for the ski and snowboard club and the tremendous Aspen Recreation Center. Everyone notices this positive energy.
Give the young men in prison the chance to redeem their lives; let the healing begin and start to create a future that does not include prison. Lawson Wills has demonized these young men and, in his vanity, refuses to acknowledge that, with local supervision, probation and family support, this sad chapter of our valley youth can be repaired.
These men will come home to our valley. It is the only home they know. Do we want them to return disillusioned and bitter, or as young men grateful for the chance to prove themselves?
Nobility is evidenced by many characteristics – leadership, courage, wisdom and hard work – but also by forgiveness and generosity. That solves problems and heals wounds.
Let’s allow these young men and their families to salvage their lives, redeem themselves and rejoin their communities, chastened but not forgotten. It’s time to heal these scars.