"A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good. Each Should have it's own reward."
~George R.R. Martin A Clash of Kings
In our little town in Pennsylvania we've had a terrible tragedy, actually quite a few recently. Two of the larger stories: a young teacher tortured and murdered in her own home and a beloved downtown resident killed simply crossing the street.
And as with most small towns (even though it doesn't feel like such) many people I know are intimately connected with people in the stories. With that comes some passionate views and emotions that are absolutely normal.
But what always disturbs me, makes me sad, is the inability of people to let the families of those "responsible" mourn. Whether the child or young adult did a heinous crime or simply had very poor judgement there is a family connected to them that is suffering. They are mourning the loss of a life both in the victim and in their own home. If they show any sign of being sad for their own loss they get crucified as an accomplice.
Many blame the parents, or in the crazy case of the school teacher some have even blamed the school they attended. There is always plenty of blame to go around so here are a few questions I'd like to propose before anyone besides the suspects get condemned.
If you are a parent, have you ever said "my child will never (fill in the blank)" only to have them do it a year or two later. I was like that with my oldest. All of the preschoolers were hitting or biting but my angel would never do such a thing and it's probably because I'm such an awesome parent! Enter a little brother and, well, let's just say the gloves came off the little bugger.
Granted that's far from rape, murder, or vehicular manslaughter but your children are their own people who will make their own way, mistakes and all. Your job is to try to raise them correctly with morals and respect but who and what they become without you is up to them.
And in regards to the hit and run, have you ever made a mistake? Did you ever have a stupid accident as a teen or young adult that was your fault? Have you ever as an adult gotten behind the wheel knowing you maybe had one too many but were lucky enough to make it home? Have you ever had that moment where you know something could have ended tragically but amazingly didn't?
Yes, the young man was wrong on so many levels and a dear gentleman is gone because of it. That is something both families and especially the driver will live with forever.
The dead are dead and the living are left to suffer. Why add to the suffering? What purpose does it serve? Life is long and complicated. You never know what the future holds. You may someday be the one in need of a little kindness.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
~Martin Luther King Jr.