Editorial: Justice and mystery

October 7, 2011
By

Clerk Surendra Dangol died on the floor of the Monument Square Tedeschi’s in 2009 for no reason at all.

JP isn’t supposed to be like that. Life isn’t supposed to be like that.

A court restored a sense of order last week by sending Edward Corliss to prison for life for killing Dangol during a robbery. But the horrifying pointlessness of the crime remains.

Corliss, an unrepentant sociopath, offered no explanation for why he killed a clerk who had already handed over the money and who had seen Corliss only in heavy disguise. Corliss doesn’t seem like the reflective type. Even he may not know why he did it.

We can, and should, ask how Corliss got parole after committing a similar store clerk murder 40 years ago. We should ask why this state makes it so difficult for clerks, or anyone, to effectively arm themselves in self-defense. But even important policy issues do not touch the heart of darkness in this crime.

The criminal justice system did everything right in this case. It caught Corliss promptly. It has locked him up forever so he cannot harm society further. It imposed rationality on the irrational and fairness on the unfair. It declared an official end to this traumatic chapter of JP history.

But there is one question no system can answer: Why?

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