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Posted: May 19, 2011 6:20 p.m.

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Maybe an eye for an eye isn't such a bad idea

It's been a while since I poured some gasoline on the old bonfire so I thought I'd break out my flame-retardant suit and grab a gas can. I want to talk about the Auburn tree incident that happened a couple of months ago, in the wake of the Tigers winning the national football championship.

Now, I care as much about Alabama and Auburn football as I do Georgia, or the entire NCAA for that matter. College football and the whole college affiliation just isn't my thing. I went to Georgia State and never had a desire to spend my hard-earned money on Greek life. If anything, my fraternity was the 82nd Airborne Division where they paid me to make sure college students could run amok free of oppression from foreign opposition. College was where I went to get my degree. It means nothing else to me. But I'm also not blind to the loyalty many have to their alma maters in particular, their football teams. I get it. What I don't get is what would drive anyone to do what this guy allegedly did to those trees.

When I first heard about this story, my initial thought was this act had to have been some twenty-something (at most) punk who had no respect for the football rivalry between Auburn and Alabama. When I heard it was a 62-year old man, I was flabbergasted. This is a guy who understands the rivalry better than most. He was alive and I'm sure a devoted fan during Alabama's glory years under Bear Bryant. He might even own one of those hideous houndstooth hats. So what gives?

Here's what totally blew me away. With all the tough breaks Auburn has gone through — from the perfect season under sanctions in 1993 (which I followed very carefully because my good friend in the Army was a diehard Auburn fan) to the most recent undefeated effort without a national title in 2004, and the fact that Alabama has won 13 national championships including one two years ago, you'd think even the most bitter Alabama fan would simply shrug off Auburn's success in 2010. I could see a Chicago Cubs fan eventually going off the deep end. But killing a grove of sacred oak trees, when your rival cuts your overall lead in national titles to down to 11 makes no sense to me.

Updyke faces four felony and misdemeanor counts. According to the Associated Press, Updyke could face up to 10 years in prison for each felony charge and as much as a one-year sentence and $2,000 fine on the misdemeanor if convicted. Also according to a separate AP report, Updyke was jumped at a gas station after he left a court hearing last month. He was back in court Wednesday and the case is nowhere close to settled. Now, I don't condone whoever jumped Updyke. That's not the way to do things. Instead, I have a better idea (and thus the need for my firesuit).

My solution to this is similar to how I feel about all wrong doings. Instead of spending millions of dollars on court and prison fees, just do whatever the guilty party did back to him/her. That's the punishment. For instance, if someone is found guilty for setting a cat on fire, that person should be set on fire. If someone shoots someone in the face and kills them, they should be shot in the face. It's simple. If found guilty, Updyke should have to ingest poison as his punishment. OK, maybe I'm being too harsh in this instance. Maybe I shouldn't quantify a tree and a human life that way and this crazy idea should be reserved for violent criminals who harm animals and people. But my point is very basic. What if these trees were people or animals (animals in my mind have the right not to be harmed by humans)? Then what? Convicted criminals should endure the same crime they committed as punishment. That's their sentence. After that, their debt to society is paid in full. It's quick, cheap and the byproduct might be, I don't know, a better society?

Think of all the money we, as taxpayers would save. You want more money in your pocket each pay period, don't you? Think of the crime we'd deter. You'd like to feel safe when you're in downtown Atlanta, wouldn't your? Does this make sense to anyone else but me?

Probably not. But at least I stoked the fire.

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