Dear Mr. President:
As a custody officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections I know that a good percentage of those who once broke the rules and laws of society can become effective participants again in their community - if given the proper opportunity of a second chance. Therefore, the PATCO situation as it now stands has some interest for me.
Admitting my knowledge of the entire matter is only second-hand at best, I can understand somewhat the problems you faced and handled when our federal laws were broken by the air traffic controllers and their union. It is the same with any judge, or even an officer of the law, especially if some wholesale punishment has to be given.
When our rules are ignored, someone is always a victim. Someone is hurt, and the PATCO members' stand did cause some national and corporate and individual harm.
However, even those with the most violent felony convictions are usually given a second chance. It is the American way. Naturally, a penalty is extracted.
Mr. President: I am curious as to why many of the PATCO members - decent family and community people (this I assume without knowing personally any members of PATCO) - have not been afforded the ''second chance.'' One must assume that without benefit of a sentence a penalty cannot be eventually served or completed.
My suggestion, Mr. President: What if you used your influence to suggest and extract 1,000 hours of documented community service from each PATCO member (on an individual and volunteer basis)? This service could be limited to hours for the mentally afflicted, for senior citizens, for special olympics, for Big Brother or Big Sister programs. Or it could include other programs.
Frankly, it seems if a PATCO member was sincere in his efforts to complete 1, 000 hours of public service, you could forgive and rehire those Americans. I believe the public would accept, would tolerate, would understand this second chance - and it would not diminish your original and proper and firm stance in the PATCO situation.
Mr. President: You have the resources to consider this suggestion and to refine it in ways beyond my ability or knowledge. Things like placing the re-hired at the end of seniority lists, etc. are things better left to those with proper credentials.
I can only believe and express from my workplace - a prison environment - that a second chance would be proper to the many fine members and civil servants already penalized but unable to work toward a new beginning.