Letters to the Editor

‘Papa Winks’ misses the point

David Winkle reflects on his time as a marijuana cultivator and drug smuggler in Blue Lake. Winkle agreed to a plea deal for five years in prison. After three years and 10 months, Winkle was released this spring to a halfway house and then to monitored detention.
David Winkle reflects on his time as a marijuana cultivator and drug smuggler in Blue Lake. Winkle agreed to a plea deal for five years in prison. After three years and 10 months, Winkle was released this spring to a halfway house and then to monitored detention. aseng@sacbee.com

Missing the point on disparate treatment in criminal justice

Re “The rise and fall of ‘Papa Winks’ ” (Page 1A, Aug. 14): How fortunate is David Winkle that, not only does he get a reduced sentence for his “long good standing in the timber and construction industries,” he also gets a front-page, sympathetic profile in The Sacramento Bee.

We learn he was trafficking in meth and marijuana. In this individual, we have someone who was born into white male privilege with assets, opportunities and a college education. He had options, lots of them, but chose to disobey the law repeatedly. And yet he is back home with employment and increasing opportunities after only five years.

Thanks to Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” many of us have woken up to the disparate treatment in our criminal justice system. I can’t help but think that Papa Winks, had he been brown-skinned, born into poverty without assets and opportunities, would not have gotten off so easily.

By not addressing the issue of disparate treatment in our criminal justice system, this article reads like an insensitive throwback and was far less interesting. Articles about Humboldt’s economic drivers are fascinating, but if The Bee is profiling a white drug felon in 2016, please don’t fail to address the elephant in the room.

Susan Veazey, Sacramento

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