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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Hit-and-run death is example of cruelty

Sunday, March 10, 2002

This week brought us sickening revelations in the Andrea Yates murder trial with testimony on the drowning deaths of her five children. It also brought us more sordid details of abuse and molestations by a handful of priests across the country. But nothing can compare with the cold brutality of Chante J. Mallard and the hit-and-run death in Texas.

It's hard to describe the cruelty that Mallard inflicted on her victim. Drunk and on drugs, Mallard struck a pedestrian last October while leaving a bar in Fort Worth. The victim was lodged headfirst in her windshield, slowly bleeding to death. But in her drunken panic, Mallard drove home with the victim halfway in and halfway out of her windshield. She then left him there for two days to slowly bleed to death. And then, with the assistance of friends, she disposed of the body and tried to burn her vehicle to hide the crime. Only when a tipster came forward this week was Mallard arrested.

The story gets worse however. Mallard had admitted to friends that she was drinking and taking the drug Ecstasy at the time of the hit-and-run murder. But no sooner had she hired an attorney than her story changed. Now she claims that someone must have drugged her at the bar earlier on that fateful night. That bogus claim by her attorney is just one reason the legal community has a bad reputation in our society.

Mallard acknowledged that during the ordeal she went to her garage on several occasions to apologize to the dying man. But not once did she administer aid or call for assistance. And keep in mind, by this time Mallard was no longer drunk or under the influence of drugs. She simply sat by - literally - and allowed a man to bleed to death. She dumped the body, removed her blood-soaked car seats and burned them. She then made preparations to burn the entire vehicle.

I will be criticized for the following but who cares? Mallard was black and the victim was white. Had the races been reversed, minority leaders would be decrying this vicious act as a hate crime. Of course it most obviously was not. It was a senseless crime by a callous woman who had no regard for life. She should spend the remainder of her miserable life in prison. Yet that even falls short of appropriate in my book.

Does the news media dwell too much on the negatives in our society? Perhaps. But a story such as Chante Mallard or Andrea Yates just illustrates the depths of the cruelty of humanity. Maybe sometimes we need these stories to make us realize how fragile life can be. And to realize how inhumane some among us are capable of.

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