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Mon, Sep 01, 2014 03:31 AM
Issue of August 27, 2014
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Life worth more than 95.6-percent proof


My Opinion


December 04, 2013 | 10:28 AM

Call me a prude, but, before October of this year, if someone asked me who Pappy Van Winkle was, I'd have guessed he'd be related to the Van Winkles in the northern part of Harrison County.

That was before some 65 cases of a 20-year-old bourbon were heisted from Buffalo Trace (not our Buffalo Trace) Distillery in Frankfort, Ky. Police believe the theft of the bourbon — estimated to be worth a whopping $26,000 — was an inside job.

Question of the Week
Do you think a persons life is worth more than 20-year-old bourbon?
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On Monday, a $10,000 reward was offered to anyone who can give information that leads to the arrest of the booze bandit(s). Bluegrass Crimestoppers anted up $1,000, while an anonymous donor provided $9,000 of the reward.

A couple of weeks ago, Kroger employee Jack Combs, 34, had finished his shift at the Hubbards Lane location in Louisville and was walking to his car when he was fatally shot in the chest by an unknown assailant.

As police work to solve the murder case, the City of Woodlawn Park has pledged $5,000 in reward money that leads to an arrest. The donation joined several others: Kroger ($5,000), attorney Brendan McLeod ($5,000), the City of Indian Hills ($5,000), an anonymous donor ($5,000), the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227 ($2,500) and Commonwealth Bank & Trust Co. ($2,500).

On Saturday, a 26-year-old Maryland man, Tyson Jerome Barnette, was gunned down as he delivered mail on his route. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has offered a $100,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction regarding the murder.

Last year, the parents of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer offered a $250,000 reward for information about her disappearance.

If you're doing the math, it's $10,000 to figure out who pilfered Pappy's, and $30,000 to solve the Louisville murder, $100,000 to solve the Maryland murder and a quarter of a million bucks for information about a missing person.

During the weekend, Andrea Arnold, a Louisville mother of three — ages 10 months, 7 years and 9 years — who just turned 26 on Oct. 30, was shot multiple times and killed; her body was found in an alley about 1-1/2 miles from where she lives. A vigil was set to take place yesterday (Tuesday) in the alley where her body was found.

No reward is being offered for information for Arnold's death. None. Not a single cent.

So, do the math again, and you have rewards of $250,000 to help find an IU student, $100,000 for information about one man's murder, $30,000 for info about another man's murder, $10,000 for info about some booze being stolen and $0 for information about a female's murder.

Anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Obviously, there's no way to offer a reward for information that leads to an arrest for each murder, but you have to wonder why three lives were seemingly worth more than Arnold's. And it definitely raises the question as to why information about stolen booze is worth more than information about Arnold's death.

Have we sunk so far as a society that we're ranking the lives of humans and basing rewards on what a life's worth or who the person worked for? Who determines the value?

In regard to the Combs case, is someone out there holding on to their information, waiting for the reward money "stock market" to reach its peak before they come forward? If they weren't going to give up the info for $5,000, will they give it up for $10,000? $30,000? $50,000? What's the breaking point?

I don't know Arnold's marital status, or where she worked, what her personal life was like or what could have led to her murder. What I do know is that her life, especially as a mother, has worth.

With her death, it was one heart that was stopped, two eyes that will never see her children grow, two hands that will never nurture those children, two legs that will never run with them in the park and a mouth that will never be able to say to her infant, "I love you."

Yes, Virginia, Andrea Arnold's life has worth, even if others say that worth is less than 65 cases of Pappy Van Winkle's.

Twitter: @_alanstewart

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    C'mon...
    December 09, 2013 | 07:05 PM

    Alan, how much money have you offered up as a reward for the young woman's killer? What is the exact dollar amount you have placed on this woman's life? Did you place it above or below the missing IU student? I enjoy your opinions but this one is a little much.

    You cannot assign a dollar value to human life. Rewards are not a indication of a person's worth. If they were, I'd say she was worth exactly the amount of money you've spent to find her killer.

    Scott
  2. print email
    December 10, 2013 | 07:44 AM

    "You cannot assign a dollar value to human life. Rewards are not a indication of a person's worth."

    Pretty sure that's what he was getting at, at least that's the way I took it.

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