SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 21, 2014

Our view: Snays law would paint with too-broad brush

(Continued)

In Snay’s case, even if such a law were in place, it would have no teeth. Snays has already collected his winnings. Grossman says his idea is aimed at preventing future situations and to give lawmen some added teeth.

We feel that a better and more effective use of the court system’s resources is to follow through with the traditional litigation path. A victim has the right to sue civilly for damages; it would be more appropriate to see the victim compensated rather than the state.

The Lottery is certainly a financial windfall for Massachusetts. Last fiscal year, it generated almost a billion dollars in revenue, money used to support local schools and governments. But we should not fool ourselves into believing that it holds the moral high ground. It generates plenty of societal woes. It preys on low-income citizens, it nurtures gambling addictions, and even those who win are not immune to hardship. Anecdotes abound regarding lottery winners who went bust and saw their lives ruined. Now, we see that it also played a role in aiding a sex offender’s alleged crime.

Snays is not the first person with a criminal mind to win the lottery. Mobster and murderer James “Whitey” Bulger “won” the lottery in 1991, splitting the winnings with three others. Bulger coerced the actual winner into “sharing” his windfall. It was an infamous case for the Lottery, perhaps one of the best examples of how impure our reliance on Lottery earnings really is.

We think the criminal justice system should deal with Snays in the strictest possible manner, and the victim should seek compensation from his estate. But a law like the one Grossman is pushing is not built on a solid platform.

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