Margaret L. Richardson, director of the Clean Slate Practice in Berkeley, Calif., has been appalled at the fallout from this story. As she put it, "Once that debt has been paid, it shouldn't be used again and again to prohibit that person from moving forward" -- with a new job, a safe place to live or educational opportunities. Driving a truck affords men without a college education the opportunity to earn a living wage -- and it is not in California's interest to pass laws, as one assemblyman has hinted, to make it harder for adults with records to make a living.
If Mosqueda broke any laws, then authorities should throw the book at him. If he was speeding, as the California Highway Patrol suspects, there should be stiff legal consequences. But for once, let California have a disaster not followed by a stampede to pass laws that hurt the wrong people, because Sacramento cannot pass a law prohibiting steel from melting at 3,000 degrees.