“Oh, he’s harmless. After all, he’s too old to hurt anyone.”
Have you ever heard that line of reasoning? I sure have. I’ve actually thought that way. The feeble old man walking is usually not someone you have to worry about day-to-day. The young guy who is looking for trouble might be another matter, but not the old man.
That line of thinking impacted a judge’s decision to parole a convicted murderer. He was old and, therefore, harmless.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t.
A man who served decades in prison for stabbing his wife 14 times in front of her daughter was convicted Wednesday in a nearly identical crime — stabbing a woman at least 11 times while her twin children watched.
Albert Flick, 77, who was previously deemed too old to be a threat by a judge, was convicted in the 2018 death of Kimberly Dobbie. Jurors deliberated less than an hour before reaching its guilty verdict.
Both the attack, which was in front of a laundromat in broad daylight, and Flick’s purchase two days earlier of two knives, were caught on surveillance video.
Now, let’s be clear here. Flick is not your typical old man. He’s clearly someone with a tendency toward homicidal outbursts, something that the judge may not have had any way of recognizing.
However, that doesn’t change a thing. Dobbie is still dead, and her children will forever bear the pain of having watched their mother’s murder.
To make matters worse is that it wasn’t like Flick didn’t give off warning signs. There was reason to recognize that he was a violent man with violent tendencies besides his first murder.
In 2010, he was sentenced again for assaulting another woman. The judge at the time ignored the recommendation of the prosecutor for a longer sentence, saying Flick would not be a threat because of his age and it didn’t make sense to keep him incarcerated. He was released and moved to Lewiston in 2014.
How did that work out?
Look, the punishment should fit the crime. If someone commits assault, then they should be sentenced for assaulting someone. Their age or status should be irrelevant. If they die while in prison, so be it. Don’t want to die in prison, don’t do crap that will get you locked up when you’re old. It’s that simple.
To be sure, this is also a reminder that age doesn’t negate a threat. While it may be easier to overpower an old man, that doesn’t mean an old man won’t kill you just as dead as a younger man. Don’t assume that age decreases the threat someone can pose, especially when they have weapons like knives. A weapon that’s not likely to be restricted anytime soon here in the United States, unlike the UK that’s checking IDs for children’s cutlery sets.
Be wary of anyone giving off warning signs, regardless of their age. I somehow suspect Flick gave off some and no one thought much about it because of his age. Don’t do that.
Predators don’t grow out of being predators, after all.