On Wednesday, I finished reading the book “Wheelmen,” by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell, a book about Lance Armstrong and the greatest sports conspiracy ever. I awoke to the Star Tribune’s front-page story about Tom Petters and his plea for a shorter sentence. The similarities between these two men is striking. Both committed financial fraud to elevate their self-worth and took full advantage of the lifestyle it brought them. Both enticed people to perpetuate their schemes. Both, when caught, lied vehemently, proclaiming their innocence. Both, when offered the opportunity to come clean and thus face reduced sentencing, believed their own lies and thought they were above the law. Finally, both, when found guilty and convicted, have gone back to their respective tribunals and begged for leniency.
Are they changed men? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. As Abraham Lincoln said, “nearly all men can stand adversity, but, if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
HENRY BRANDTJEN III, St. Paul