On the night of October 26,1974, Joey fournier, age 17, was working alone at the mobile service station, three men drove up, and two entered the gas station, brandishing knives and demanding money, Joey gave them $276.37 and pleaded for his life.
Minutes later, one of Joey's friends passed by. He found that the office was covered with blood and Joey's body was stuffed in a trash barrel, his feet were jammed up near his chin, he had been stabbed 19 times.
The three men were soon arrested. All confessed to the robbery, but not to joey's murder. Prosecutor was convinced, however, that the actual killer was horton, one of the three, he had previously served three years for assault with intention to murder.
In may 1975, the three men was convicted of armed robbery and first -degree murder. In many states, they could have forfeited their lives. But a few weeks earlier, Gov Michael Dukakis had vetoed a death penalty bill.
Still, a first -degree murder conviction in Massachusetts was supposed to mean a mandatory sentence of life in prison, with no posibility of parole.The fournier family, ruined by their loss, took comfort in the prosecutor's assurance that Joey's killer would never again walk the streets.
Under a little-known state law, however, such first-degree killers were eligible for unguarded, 48-hour fur-loughs from prison. On june 6, 1986, Horton was released from the Northeastern Correctional center in concord. he never came back .
About 7:30 P.M. on april 3, 1987, clifford heard footsteps in his house. He called out, thinking Angela, his fiancee, had returned early from a wedding party, Instead, a man suddenly loomed before him, pointing a gun . it was horton.
For the next seven hours, a laughing Horton punched, pistol-whipped and kicked him. Horton also cut him 22 times across his midsection.
Later that night. Angela returned. Bound and gagged. Clifford listened in helpless horror to Angela's screams as Horton savagelyattacked her. For four hours, she was assaulted, tied up, and twice raped.
Finally clifford broke free and staggered to neighbor's home for help. hen Horton went to check on him, Angela cut herself loose and escaped through a win-dow. Now panicked, Horton stole clifford's car and fled. After a high speed police chase, he was wounded and captured.
Susan, a young reporter, was covering Horton's rampage and recapture, But one chilling detail puzzled her. " the question everyone wants an answer is how a cool-blooded murderer ever got out in the first place?"
Susan's editor, Dan Warner, encouraged her to find out. but she ran into a bureaucratic stonewall. The commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of correction. at first refused to talk to her. then he cited the state's 1972 Criminal offender record information Act, which strictly limits pubic access to court and prison records of convicted criminal. the law granted convicted killers a right to privacy that makes their crimes virtually a state secret.
Warner and susan were indignant. They could not find out why horton had been released or how many other hortons were walking on the streets. Susan appealed to the governor for an interview, but was rejected.
still, Susan's hard-hitting front page stories stirred public indignation. And two states representatives-former police officer Larry Giordano and Joseph Hermann introduced a bill to ban furloughs for first degree murderers.
At the public hearing on Giordano's bill on May 27,1987, the victims' families made a powerful impact on everyone pressent. The biggest shock, however, came from the testimony of Associate Correction Commisssioner, Dennis Humphrey.
A sentence of "lifer without parole", Humphrey revealed, was meaningless. It was assumed that eventually everyone even first degree murderers like Horton would have their sentences commuted and "get out", After only ten years, a lifer was routinely transferred to a minimum security facility,which were no walls,There he became eligible for furloughs. At that moment, Humphrey said, such facilities held out 160 first-degree killers. Horton had been one of them; he was on his tenth weekend pass when he disappeared.
The massachusetts inmate furlough program was enacted in 1972,and a killer soon escaped. This stirred up a legal controversy, but in 1976 Governor vetoed a bill to ban furlough for first degree murders. "i would", he said, "cut the heart out of efforts at inmate restarting a new life."
After the hearing, CAUS members worked feverishly to collect and deliver signed petitions to city halls across the state. Late at night on December 1,1987, nine bone -weary volunteers crowded.donna's living room to count the results. They needed 50525 signatures. They had 52407. There were screams. Tears and hugs all around CAUS members were glad they had taken matters out of the politicians' hands. The states's House passed Giordano's bill overwhelmingly. But in the Senate,Rogal Bolling used parliamentary stalling tactices to it as the legislative session ended.
Amounth later, Bolling received a standing greeting for his effort from 400 inmates at one prison. " i'm always glad to see some of my old friends" he said, smiling, "i hope i will continue to deserve your good will ".
The occcasion for this strange episode was " legislative Awareness Day," an annual event that remains, when in mates in Massachusetts are allowed to vote. An inmate leader urged follow convicts to register and vote against the referendum banning furloughs.
But the CAUS referendum was virtually assured of vote approval in Novemeber. And as spring arrived, Dukakis came under mounting public pressure to end the furlough program himself before it hurt his presidential camaign.
On march 22, 1988, at a packed news conference, the governor promised not to veto Giordano's bill. Asked if he was personally in favor of furloughs, Dukakis answered,'that's irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that the people of commonwealth aren't." He added he still wanted some alternative program to help him commute the sentences of first degree murderers. On April 28, after the legislature passed the furlough ban by a wide margin. the governor signed it to law.
For Donna, CAUS's vigorous cofounder, the work to reorm the system has just begun. With Dukakis seeking an alternative to the furlough program, CAUS has announced its next goal will be to restrict the governor's power to commute life sentences.
For Susan, an effort to uncover hidden facts became a crusade. After nearly 200 stories by Susan and other determined reporters. the furlough system was finally exposed to the public. On march 31.1988. Susan received journalism's highest honor: the Pulitzer Prize.
For Donna, the issue remains hauntingly, harshly personal. On the 13th anniversary of his brother's murder, she visited the how -deserted gas station. She cried softly as she stared at the weeds and empty windows, Joey, she thought, would have been 30 years old.
"Someone asked, Are you doing this for your brother?' Donna conce testified,"I guess i am..because if i didn't -he'd have die for noting. And then you couldn't live with yourself. because justice would not have been served."
Critics often speak of " the rich" with none too subtle contempt, as if those at the very top of the income ladder are all frauds or as if becoming rich means others must become poored. While we cwould be the first to admit that some rech people are frauds. we hasten to add that achieving the status of " the rich " is not particularly difficult,alien to popular wisdom. The rules for acquiring substantial wealth are simple and well worn.
The first rule for becoming rich is to have a reasonable income base, which is what most Americans have virtually by the fact of their birth. Few people who have subsistendce income levels can experct ever to be rich. they must devote themslves entirely to survival, meaning they can't save and their wealth can't grow. This doesn't mean that all Americans live in luxury or have high incomes. Some do live in poverty and are incapable of saving.Nevertheless, the fact remains that even poor Americans have more than the subsistence income levels of people in Ethiopia and many other countries. By world standards. most Americans start with a reasonable income base from which they can save, invest, and build their net worth.
Without question, some individuals have become excessively rich because they have been lucky. They won a lottery accidentally or had aptitude at the high time. If Chicargo Bull's star jordan had been born 30 years earlier, certainly he would not have earned the substantial fortune that he has. Contrary to conventional wisdom,the overwhelming majority of millionaires in the country do not have anywhere close to jordan's tens of millions of annual earnings. Indeed, half of all millionaires have an annual income of less than $ 131 000.
How can an ordinary person become rich? One surefire method is to live modestly, that is , to save a substantial portion of earned income, until the savings pile up. This is precisely the route a majority of rich people have taken to their good fortunes. For most people of modestm, the savingm through the power of compounidng, eventually will make for a substantial net worth and an income level that will be the envy of those who have chosen to squander their incomes on compact discs, cigarettes and new cars, Indeed, a modest and continuous saving plan which started early in life can ensure wealth later in life -say, at retirement.
As a simple illustration, suppose that a newly minted 22 year old graduate save with starting salary of $2 000 the first year( and only the first year) on his or her first job. Assume as well that the new graduate is able to secure the annual rate of return on the accumulated investment of 15% until retirement. The one time investment will be worth more than $800 000at age 65 and more than $ 1 600 000 at age 70. This individual clearly would be considered"rich", given that , in 1993 (the latest year of available data).the moderate U.S. household net worth was $37 587.However, moderate net worth varied from under $ 6 000 for young adults to a high of $91 481 for people in their prime earning years, 54 -64 years of age.
Of course, 15% might be an unreasonably high expected rate of return for such a long period time, but notice that the calculations are based on a one time saving of a mere $2 000. A conclusion can be drawn by an analogy,if the person could achieve just a 10% compounded rate of return( approximately equal to the appreciation of the stock market over the last half century), then his or her one time. $ 2000 investment would reach $ 120 000 at the age 65 and $ 194 000 at age 70, an immense wealth level compared to what most retirees have.
The second rule for being rich is to save a lot and do it consistently and, again, from an early age, by world standard, many elderly americans have reasonable income levels during the course of their careers. They could have saved for more than they did. In effect, they choose their standard of living today. Many simply have been unwilling to resist expensive cars and "had" to trade them in for a new one every year or so. Some were sucked in by cigarette ads, and they now are "paying" for their habits both in terms of health problems and the unrealized income.
A retired person who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day since college graduation may have averaged spending,say, $547 a year on cigarettes(assuming an average cost of $1.50 a pack). If the money that literally went up in smoke had been invested, the person's retirement fund obviously would have been much greater, and surprisingly so. At age 70, the retirement fund would have been almost $150 000 large with a rate of return of six percent and a marvelous$3 400 000 greater at 15%. As investment adviser scott burns concluded after calculating own wealth loss from his past smoking. It comes down to this: if you want to be in the upper reaches of wealth in the U.S. you don't have to do anything complicated or heroic. All you need to do is dump the dump habit.
The third rule for being rich is to abandon" irresistible" temptabions. That is easier said than done, and we do not necessarily recommend that all people should lead a puree and joyless life. We mean only to point out that the great majority of those four percent of americans who have $1000000 in net worth get to where they are because they control their pleasures. For example, rich Americans buy cars that are on average only slightly more expensive than those less wealthy Americans buy.
Being able to save and accumulate considerable wealth is not automatic. People must have a reasonable income in order to save amounts that will make for wealth , which requires several supplementary rules for achieving an income level that will allow for a minmum saving level. For most of those without the indispensable luck, inheritance , special aptitude, or good ideas becoming rich means getting an education. Few people who drop out of high school will be rich. The income of high school dropouts is about two-thirds that of Americans with a high school diploma.
To have a good chance of being rich, though, most individuals will need at least a college education, which will double their incomes over what they would have earned with only a high school diploma. A professional degree will result in an average annual income of about twice that of college graduates. This means that those who invest in education do not have to save as high a percentage of income to be rich at retirement. However, in all probability, educated Americans will be richer at retirement simply because they will be able to save more a long the way and because they are likely to be smart and can achieve a higher rate of return on their savings.
The first supplementary rule for becoming rich is to stay in school or , if out of school, go back to it . Of course , this presumes that students will do more than "tread water" while in school; it presumes they wil learn something worth the time and effort Contrary to all the talk about rising costs, it never has been rising steadily in real terms and relative to family income levels for more than a decade. However, the rate of return on a college education has been rising as well, making the investment a good deal (which explains why more and more Americans are availing themselves of higher education opportunities and remain willing to pay greater prices). Meanwhile, the cost of self education has fallen with the multitude of sources of knowledge and information available on CD-ROMs and the internet.