An armed robber goes into a convenience store to steal money out of the cash register. He pulls out a pistol and points it at the store clerk.
He has no intention of using it. He just wants to show the man he means business. The store clerk, upon seeing the weapon, involuntarily recoils. He slips on a puddle of Mountain Dew and his head hits the tile floor. He dies of a cerebral hemorrhage.
The robber is apprehended, and charged with something called "felony murder," which is to say that even though he never intended to take a life, he embarked on a series of activities that directly resulted in the death of the clerk.
How is Bernard Madoff any different than this guy, when his theft resulted in several suicides by people whose entire life savings had been wiped out?
He's lucky all he got was 150 years, and not the magic mojito I.V. As it is, I heard that he's not going to a country club prison. Thanks to the enormity of his crimes, he's rumored to be headed for medium security, with rapists, armed robbers, and other unsavory types who are also serving life sentences with no possibility of parole.
In other words, the system has no way of disciplining them if they should happen to visualize their own grandmother in the place of some little old lady who is now forced to survive on cat food, and decide to take appropriate action.
That's what it feels like not to know if you're going to make it through the next day, Mr. Madoff.