This is a post I’ve been wrestling with for a few days now. To write or not to write, that is the question.
I don’t think it will win me friends, but that’s not the problem.
I don’t want to offend those nearest and dearest to me.
The other week, whilst listening to the news, I heard about the murder of a surgeon in Sydney that took place about 20 years ago. I can’t remember the name or the exact details (it was the morning school rush), but I did hear that there was a debate over whether the perpetrator, who was foreign, should be allowed to return home before his sentence was finished. He was about 3 or four years off finishing a 20+ year term, but was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and spent all his time in the jail’s hospital. I think dementia was beginning to set in (if it hadn’t already), and I’m assuming his family was asking of he could come home.
The debate went back and forwards between whether he should finish the sentence, as his crime dictated, or if he was simply a burden to our tax payers, and we should send him home.
Now I’m all for people doing their time. I think as a rule our country is fairly lenient with crime, and we need to be tougher. But in this situation, I really don’t see the point in keeping him here. Does he even know why he is in jail? Is he actually justly suffering for his crime?
And what about the family back overseas. They’ve lost twenty years already. Shouldn’t they get the last few?
It’s a very debatable topic.
And then there is the man who last week killed Jill Meagher, after distracting, and then raping her on her way home. The entire nation has been shocked and is screaming for justice.
What that man did was wrong. So very wrong.
He needs to pay.
The horror of Jill’s crime reaches us for so many reasons.
One, it makes us realise just how vulnerable we are. That even when we are sure we are safe, anything can happen.
Two, we look at it from her families perspective. What if it was our sister? Our niece, aunt, or heaven forbid, our daughter? What if someone did that to us?
Terrible, horrible questions, that hopefully, none of us will ever experience first hand.
But there is another family suffering right now.
His family have just lost their son.
He’s not dead, but he is going away for a long while. And whilst Jill’s family will know grief and honor for her life, his family will only experience grief and shame for his actions.
Can you imagine, what it is like for them? The judgement they are now receiving?
What are people saying about his mum and dad?
How many ways are they condemning their failures?
As a parent, the worst thing that can happen, is that we would raise a child whose actions would cause harm to another, and land them with a jail sentence. It is probably society’s greatest mark of a parenting failure. No matter what our philosophies, and how they differ, not one of us wants that for our child. We all try to avoid that.
And yet sometimes, it doesn’t matter what we do, our kids will still make bad choices.
Sometimes, you can give everything, do everything, pray for them, take them to church and Sunday school, send them to a private school, teach them their manners, love them more than you love life itself, and they will still make a mistake.
They will still disappoint.
I know this first hand.
I remember a beautiful little boy, who would knock down the stacking cups I had built, and giggle profusely while I did it.
And now, that little boy, is facing a harsh jail sentence.
Much harsher than we thought he would get. More than we thought he deserved.
But that is what the court deemed fit.
And whilst his mother was not perfect (none of us are), I know that she only ever did her best.
That she was wonderful to all her children.
That this does not make her a failure, no matter anyone’s thoughts on the subject.
That this breaks her heart because no matter what happens, he is still her little boy.
And he was such a beautiful little boy.
As far as heart training posts go, this is fairly random, and it’s been a while since I’ve written one.
My goal in writing is not to belittle the acts of crime perpetrators, or to trivialize the pain of their victims. It’s not to say that it doesn’t matter what you do, some kids will just do crazy things anyway, so let’s just give up.
It’s a reminder, to myself as well, not to judge.
To remember that we are all human. We all make mistakes, and not one of us is perfect.
At any moment we are all capable of hurting others, whether intentionally or not. Some do it physically, others beat down the confidence and psychological health of others.
It’s also a reminder, to never give up. To never stop trying to be a good parent and a good person. To never let a lax ‘she’ll be right’ attitude guide our parenting decisions. To remain vigilant, aware and on top of our game, always inspiring our children to be the best. Always encouraging them to love their fellow humans.
Australia was shocked by a random horrible death last week.
We grieve for an innocent.
But another family grieves too.
There are no winners in crime. Only losers.
There is only pain.
When we stop and remember what Jill’s family lost, let us too, stop and remember that another family has missed out too.