Never say never:

Letters to the Editor from the Tomahawk Leader.
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Never say never:

Postby Tomahawk Leader » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:49 am

A letter in the Nov. 25 Tomahawk Leader

To the Editor:

Friday, Nov. 7 we saw a young man stand in court being handed down his sentence for the crimes he admitted to. That person was my son, Jacob Baars.

Several months ago an apology was put in our local paper to the victims and the community. At the time of writing, it was not court ordered. It was truly written and spoken from Jacob’s heart.
The public has heard nothing but the negative comments about Jacob. Now it’s time for the positive.
How many people ever knew or really talked with him? Before graduation of 2005 from our local high school, his step-father and I took Jacob to Traverse City, Mich., where he was accepted to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. He was honored. After many months he made terrible decisions, along with six others and took a wrong turn in his life. We have asked God why?

As stated at his sentencing, Jacob was a threat to society. If so, why was he able to be out on bond for this last year and half? Working with the public, he held down two jobs (at times 14 hours a day), abided by his curfew set by the court system, and was paying on his attorneys’ fees. His plea-agreement was overruled.
Our family never expected Jacob to get off “Scott free.” We expected he would do some time in prison. We ask where is the justice for someone that came forward, never ran off, showed cooperation and was honest with his actions to authorities. As parents we cooperated 100 percent, opened up our home for investigators to tap our phone and we turned our own son in for the horse shooting. Due to this cooperation on our behalf the other perpetrators who fled out of state were arrested. This information was provided to authorities on a silver platter.
A drunk driver can kill someone and get six years – again we ask where is the justice?

Alcohol, drugs, peer pressure are a powerful force. Public comments are expected, but never say never, it won’t happen to you. You can come from the best of families and your life can change drastically. We all take the gift of freedom for granted until time behind bars takes it from us.

Each and every one of us need to take an inventory of our own lives and ask God how many crosses do I have to bear?
Forgiveness is a part of healing. It will be a new beginning for Jacob, and he will walk in the light again and not the dark. Jacob is still my son and we love him very much.

Remember, Jacob, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Debbie, Sandy, Kurt and David – I love you.

Marcia Stahmer

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Re: Never say never:

Postby Old Scout » Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:14 pm

After reading this letter, I see a big difference in comparing Jacob to a drunk driver and the difference in his sentence. A drunk driver killing someone is an accident due to making a dumb decision to drive when they have been drinking. Breaking into someone elses property, stealing their possesions for your personal use or to sell and then burning the place down is a concious decision to do something that he knew was wrong. Shooting an animal just for fun is a dumb but concious decision. For the number of crimes he committed he probably got off easy. He well could have been locked up a lot longer.
After he has served his sentence perhaps then those who's lives he affected may be able to forgive him. I know one of the victims and it will be a long time before they get over the feelings they have over the theft of their personal items many that had been in the family for a long time. I feel for the family having to go through this but not for Jacob. It was not peer pressure that is the blame. He was an intelligent young man who knew what was right but didn't care. Only when he was caught did he feel bad about it and then was it because of being caught or what he had done.
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Re: Never say never:

Postby MaryB » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:22 pm

Well said, Old Scout. I do feel for Jacob's family - deeply. As a relative of one of the other young people involved in these crimes I understand to a degree what they are going through. It is excrutiating to be separated from one you love for whatever reason. However, if we use alcohol, peer pressure, and drugs as excuses we would never again have over-crowded prisons/jails. The bottom line - Jacob is an adult who screwed up as my relative did. They made choices that were illegal and negatively affected many people. Hopefully the time served for all of these young people will lead to rehabiliation and productive lives.

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Re: Never say never:

Postby gyounger » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:55 am

During the last year and a half, when Jacob was out on bond, I had the privilege to spend some time with him. I got to see him in December of 07 and the beginning of the summer of 08. We went out fishing together and did a lot of reminiscing and reflecting. Jacob worked at the Pizza Hut in town and was spoke of very highly by all the people he worked with. They even had him go down to the Merrill and to the Minocqua Pizza Huts to help out when they were short handed. He demonstrated in the time that he had out on bond what kind of a person he really is, a hard working, caring, and law-abiding person. He is truly and sincerely sorry for every wrong he committed and for all the people he hurt.
When we were fishing, just the two of us, I asked him why. Why would he do all these awful things. Because, I tell you, even after all the horrible things he did, I could not see the Jacob that committed these crimes. He told me that it was all like a bad dream. The first time was just some mischief that got out of hand. And then, he found that he got a rush from the vandalism and the stealing. He felt empowered. It them turned into another, and another. Until it became a sort of disease where he couldn't stop. After all was said and done, he looked back at the carnage that he left behind in disbelief that he could have done such despicable acts.
Jacob knew he had to pay for what he had done, and he never expected to get off scott free. And yes, 14 years is an extremely short amount of time to spend in jail in lieu of what he could have served. But, this man was no longer a threat to society. A driver deciding to get behind the wheel makes a decision. He knows that there is a possibility that someone could die. Being in college and being a sailor, I know a thing or two about the consumption of alcohol. I never get behind the wheel of a car because I know its not worth possibly of killing someone or killing myself when I can gat a cab or phone a friend. I do not consider a person dieing because of a drunk driver as an accident. That's like saying a person who is blindfolded shooting a gun into a crowded room accidentally killed someone. When a drunk gets behind a wheel, it becomes a lethal weapon, no different from that gun.
No Jacob is not a murderer, and I personally don't think he should have gotten 14 years. I might be a little bias, being his best friend, but when a drunk driver gets less time for killing someone, something is wrong.
Jacob will do his time and do everything possible to better himself while serving it. He will try for every program he can to shorten his stay in prison, because he knows he's not the same person he was 2 or 3 years ago. He is the same person that the community knew him to be, back before all the crimes; A Cub Scout, Boy Scout, little league baseball player, football player, MS and HS band member, honor student, manager of a store, and a caring son, brother, and friend.

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Re: Never say never:

Postby Deb Richardson » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:47 am

I do not know Jacob Baars, nor his family. My prayers do go out to them.
I have to disagree with the statement that he is/was not a threat to society. Mr. Younger posted that in conversation with Jacob, Jacob said he felt a rush and was empowered by the criminal acts. That to me makes him an extreme threat. Had he not gotten caught what could have happened next? The rush of just breaking and entering possibly would not have been enough. Maybe armed robbery would have been the next "ultimate rush", where his next potential victim would not be a horse.
There is no justification here. A crime was committed and the price should be paid.
Life is too short for drama & petty things!
So, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly!

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