Word substitution, with a twist.

Tell me, if you will, what you’d think of this lede if it showed up in your local paper:

A Conroe man has been sentenced to 55 years in prison after his eighth attempted murder conviction.

Gliddon William Davis, 73, was sentenced Wednesday in the 2009 incident, authorities said. According to a statement released by Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, the jury took less than two hours to find Davis guilty of using his vehicle as a deadly weapon and less than an hour to render the verdict.

Davis has been convicted of attempted murder seven times, along with two counts of attempted rape, one assault with intent to commit rape, and other felonies.

You’d probably be aghast at such, wouldn’t you? Well. Replace “attempted murder” with “driving while intoxicated, and you have the lede here. Had Mr. Davis been charged and convicted once for attempted murder after that first DWI, I don’t know if he’d still be in jail; but it’s safe to say he’d have gotten a much stiffer penalty. And yet if he’d used a gun that penalty would have been stiffer still.

Which leads to the question that’s been asked in this space before: Is that moral, right or just? Why does using certain instruments as deadly weapons merit a higher penalty than using certain other instruments as deadly weapons?

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