A Time to Punish and a Time to Forgive

Recent news that the North End’s Sal DiMasi has been diagnosed by prison doctors with stage four cancer is sobering and depressing at the same time. It is more depressing than sobering. It makes the tragedy and the reality of his incarceration that much harder to comprehend.

Di Masi was convicted of conspiracy and extortion last year in June and was sentenced a few months later.

While in prison, he was examined by a doctor some months back and later on it was apparently determined he was battling cancer of the mouth. Then came the shocking news last week, he is battling stage four cancer.

Stage four cancer is about as bad as it gets when it comes to a diagnosis for the disease.

Doing time for crimes you have committed is hard enough but doing time and facing stage four cancer is an impossible combination to overcome mentally and physically.

If it is indeed stage four cancer that DiMasi is facing, he should be allowed to live out his days where he grew up surrounded by family and friends and possibly right here in the North End.

He can wear a bracelet. He can be approved for house arrest. If he is hospitalized, which is where he is heading, does it really matter whether he’s in a prison hospital or at home or in a hospice?

In the end, what difference is it going to make at this point?

And if the stage four cancer isn’t the coming end of his life and he recovers, he can always be made to return to his prison cell for the satisfaction of those who believe in the Draconian creed.

DiMasi stole money and basically sold the public trust. He ruined himself and he fell from power and from everything else.

What he did was not the end of the world. It was a crime. He flaunted his power. He turned his nose up at the governor. He acted as though he was impregnable and he believed the power he held was absolute.

His fall from the speaker’s position, his indictment, his conviction, his incarceration, his bankruptcy – none of this even the scratches the surface of the pain and suffering he is facing now.

We were among the first to call for DiMasi’s conviction and punishment if he was guilty.

His guilt was proven and we agreed with the punishment.

However, what Sal DiMasi is facing now is stage four cancer. This is a death penalty of sorts. Sickness is inside him. It is hovering all around him. There is no way out from this  fix except for a miracle.

If Sal DiMasi is going to fight for his life, then let him do it outside the prison.

He was given a prison term not the death penalty.

He’s paid for a good part of his sinning.

Every aspect of his life has been ruined.

If the care he will receive inside prison is the same as the care he will receive outside prison – then what difference does it make ultimately where exactly he is treated?

The court should show some compassion in this instance.

What bigger point worth making will be achieved by having DiMasi fading away inside a prison hospital?

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