Brooks Sentenced to 762 Years in Prison

Darrell Brooks, the Waukesha hit and run murderer, was sentenced this week to six consecutive life terms on the six convicted counts of first-degree murder, plus an additional 762 years for seriously injuring dozens of other victims.

Such a sentence is difficult to imagine, in an additive sense, for none of us know what will happen tomorrow. We do, however, have a very accurate picture of the past.

In 1260, 762 years ago, Kublai Khan became the great Khan of the Mongol empire. Barbers and physicians were indistinguishable, for another five hundred years the two professions were joined. The Black Death would not reach Europe for more than another century.

No Christians were protestants. The Fifth Crusade had failed nine years previously; Jerusalem was controlled by the heirs of Saladin. Arab and Christian rulers shared the Iberian peninsula. The Eastern Roman Empire would endure for another two hundred years or so; the crescent moon of Islam would not be raised over the city called Constantinople until 1453. The Most Serene Republic of Venice was a world power and would be for another 500 years.

Middle English was the language of England and would not evolve into today’s intelligible Modern English for another two centuries. Scribes copied books onto a relatively new material called paper, movable type printing was two hundred years in the future. The educated world communicated in Latin, a language in which a young Heloise composed poetry sent to her lover and husband Abelard prior to her death, only a century before.

The Christian Kings would not expel the Arab emirs from their Kingdom of Granada and fund an Italian sailor’s dream for another two centuries and three decades. Unaware of these matters, Aztec kings ruled over large parts of what today is Mexico while making blood sacrifices to their gods.

Brooks is forty years old and may live at most only another half century. We may think that the world of 2072 will be very different from our own, and in some ways it will be, but whatever changes that come to us are nothing compared to those occasioned over the last seven-tenths of a millennium.