Do we allow memories to heal?
Two major court cases involving multiple deaths ended lately.
The families endured seeing the tragedy unfold again and again as evidence was presented, victim statements read, and apologies read from the accused for the suffering they unleashed.
Afterwards the families had to face media hungry for comments.
Their remarks varied: Some felt the sentences were too lenient, others too harsh. None seemed satisfied that justice was done.
What they were looking for can never be restored by a court trial.
They wanted to put the clock back as if the event never happened and their loved ones were restored.
Even millions of dollars from a civil suit can never do that. More victims result.
The pain of losing a loved one in a tragedy is never over and everyone has to cope their way.
Let’s go back to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
On May 15, 2015, a federal jury condemned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in killing four people and maiming hundreds in the bombing.
Before the verdict, Bill and Denise Richards—the parents of a nine-year-old boy who was killed in the attack—asked that the government not seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev.
In an open letter published in the Boston Globe, they explained:
“The continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong the most painful day of our lives.”
The death penalty is often touted as the only punishment that provides true justice and closure for a victim’s family and friends, also known as co-victims.
But this is rarely based on co-victims’ actual sentiments.
They still feel empty and unsatisfied by any court ruling.
They say they want justice, but mean something else.
When someone wrongs us, we rarely want to put the clock back to before the loss.
We want something more back, to do more harm than was done to us. That is revenge.
Revenge is not justice.
Nothing can ever repay us for a loss- no amount of money, the longest jail sentence, or execution.
Healing is a process that cannot be replaced by an event.
Can we ever get our pound of flesh by a court or by revenge? No!
Peace of mind is more valuable than all the money in the world or the worst punishment humans can inflict.
Only forgiveness can bring healing to a traumatic event and lasting peace of mind.
“It is unfortunate that in most cases when the sins of the father fall on the son it is because people refuse to forgive and forget and heap past wrongs upon innocent generations.” — E.A. Bucchianeri
“Someone wrongs us, we rarely (if ever) want to do the same thing back. Why? Because we want to do something more harmful. Likewise, when someone insults us, our instinct is to search for words that will be more insulting. Revenge always escalates.” — Rob Bell.
“Mercy triumphs over justice.” James 2.13.
Gene Monin can be reached at email@example.com