Friday, March 10, 2006

The Duncan Yo Yo

It has been quiet for a couple of days but as sure as I write this, the arguments both pro and con regarding the death penalty versus plea bargain for Joseph Duncan, will continue in the yo yo syndrom. Pro and con, up and down for change of venue vs. none; death penalty vs. plea bargain, and so it no doubt will continue. I AM pleased to note BOTH our local newspapers are on the same page at the same time. They have each put forth editorials pleading for reason and good sense to prevail in the case - in direct conflict with the wishes of the prosecutor and many members of the family and the community.

I understand the hatred generated by this man for what he has done to their family. I only hope they can come to the realization that justice would be served with a plea bargain. Think about it. It guarantees the man will be incarcerated for life; no longer able to prey in our communities. Sparing his life in exchange for information on other alleged murders of children would bring closure to those families they might otherwise never have. If Shasta were one of those youngsters would you not hope for the same? I also question if anyone can get inside a nine year old's head to know if she's "ready" for the ordeal ahead. It's reported she's having enough difficulty getting on with just being the kid she once was. And executing him will not bring back the others; nor is it likely to lessen your grief.

Dwelling on it, demanding an "eye for an eye" is a slippery slope toward personal destruction. Note the following quote. "Catastrophic loss wreaks destruction like a massive flood," wrote Jerry Sittser, a religion professor at Whitworth College and author of "A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss." "It is unrelenting, unforgiving and uncontrollable, brutally erosive to body, mind and spirit."

Perhaps we should all pause for a moment, take a deep breath and learn from our Mennonite neighbors. Carolyn and Jeffrey Schrock, you'll recall, lost their five children in a horrific traffic accident. At this point in time the cause for the accident has yet to be determined. In spite of the incomprehensible grief of that loss the Schrocks were able to forgive the driver of the opposing vehicle. No, it wasn't murder and molestation, but do you honestly believe their grief is any less? Turn the other cheek brings little comfort, but this is a community that is quite vocal about its Christian ethic. For the mental health and welfare of those of us left behind it's time to take a good look within.

The Golden Rule would seem a worthy place to begin. The interpretations, no matter the religion, all say basically the same thing. The cessation of hatred has to begin within ourselves. Even the Islamist interpretation states the same.

We might like to think about these lyrics from "South Pacific". It would be a tragic legacy for Shasta Groene.

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!

Click the graphics for readability.


Word Tosser said...

I have not walked in Shasha's shoes... but I would guess the family would like to see him dead, because then he could NEVER hurt anyone again.. especially her. Where as in prison for life, there is always the dread of escape. I am not saying this is right, I saying I can understand their feelings. No one can feel what she feels, or how she feels....and who knows maybe she doesn't either.
It is easier to forgive someone who made a bad choice, an accident, than it is some one who did something on purpose, and could do it again.
I don't know the answers.. but I can understand the questions.

Dogwalkmusings said...

I understand the question too, word tosser. Escape is a remote possibility - but I really believe more good can come from keeping him alive and getting information then from executing him and leaving vast unanswered questions. I know. Easy for me to say. It wasn't my family but I hope I'd be willing to look at the picture beyond myself.

stebbijo said...

I believe that this case is a matter of money.

We caught the culprit -- but is the family worth the justice? It seems the community wants to bail now because it is easy. After all -we are talking money. It is not a matter of how anyone feels. Prove that in court.