Monday, April 14, 2008

Forgiveness, My Ass

Introducing Erick Daniel Davila, a 21 year old gangsta currently being held in the Fort Worth city jail on a 1 million dollar bond for the shooting death of a 5 year old girl and her 48 year old grandmother. Just another thug keepin' it real. This hunk of dung is a dime a dozen and doesn't interest me even a little. What does is something in the story about his crime that I find disturbingly common among the survivors of murder victims.

Renee Johnson, sister and great-aunt of the victims in this case, allowed herself to be interviewed about the murders and was quoted as saying, among other things, that "I've already forgiven him...", and "I have to have a generous spirit because we all have to forgive and get along."


Are we to assume that Ms. Johnson can communicate with the dead, or that sometime before they were slaughtered her two beloveds had given her their permission to forgive their unknown future assailant? My purpose is not to pick on this poor lady in her hour of grief, but it seems to me that the only people here who have the authority to forgive are now corpses. Ms. Johnson is not alone, of course.

Over the years there have been many reports of people who felt compelled to forgive the murderer of a loved one. Often this generosity of spirit stems from a decent but confused sense of religious obligation, a "God forgave me so I must forgive" type of deal. Whatever. Admittedly, these forgiving folks generally don't intend to include a pardon with their forgiveness, and most desire severe punishment if not death for those who murder. Which really means the whole thing is just some kind of metaphysical hocus pocus. (Yeah, I forced metaphysical in there, but I've been wanting to use it.) Nevertheless, by forgiving a murderer these people are at the very least offering to ease the mental and emotional guilt of one who does not deserve such comfort.

If a person wants to forgive someone who wrongs them, fine. But forgiving someone who has wronged another should be done with extreme caution, if at all. Especially if that wrong includes the taking of a life. Before He gave up the ghost, Jesus forgave His executioners for crucifying Him, but said nothing about forgiving them for their role in the crucifixion of the two thieves who were executed alongside Him. That's because Jesus is awesome. Even way back then He knew that what Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven was true, that when you kill a man you "take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."

( Yes, to answer your question, it's too late to make a long story short.)

All that to say this. If it comes to pass that I am murdered, you are not authorized to forgive my killer. For any reason. Ever. I don't care if fifty years down the road my murderer is some old sympathetic granddaddy who feels just terrible about the evil deed of his youth and wishes to set things right before he meets his maker. Tell him I said as soon as he brings me back to life I'll think it over. Besides, it ain't your business, I'm the one who's dead.

And I'll do the same for you, whoever you are.

1 comment:

The Archduke of Arrogance said...

I wonder how forgiving she would be if he had been a 21 year old shaven headed white guy?