As Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford noted two years ago, if Aikens "had not cooked the cocaine (into crack), his sentence would have already run out by now."
Aikens and Aaron both deserved to do time for their crimes. But not 20 years, and certainly not life without parole. Not when Aikens is clean and sober and first-time nonviolent offender Aaron is a model prisoner.
It costs about $20,000 a year to jail each federal prisoner. That money is a bargain when it is used to incarcerate murderers, predators and criminal kingpins. It is a waste when used to warehouse human beings who mostly hurt themselves and pose little danger to society.
Frankly, it is not in the American spirit to throw people away for a generation or a lifetime for what, in the big scheme of things, are small crimes.
Mr. President, please free Clarence Aaron as a gift to yourself and to your country.