04 October 2006

Forgive, Never Forget

Maybe you know who Charles Carl Roberts IV was. He's the fellow who took several Amish girls hostage in their one-room schoolhouse in Paradise, PA on Monday, and then ended up shooting each of them before taking his own miserable life.

When I read reports of this incident on Monday, I was appalled. How can any human being do something like that to ten innocent children? Given the description of the items he'd brought along with him, as well as his admission to molesting children in the past, one can only imagine what he had planned prior to the point that the police arrived.

So you've got the Amish now, and their faith teaches them that they have to forgive those who trespass against them, that they must not think evil of the man who took the lives of five of their children, and critically wounded five more, as they sat bound and helpless at his feet.

While I can respect the thought of forgivness in principle, my perspective on this crime is one buried in emotion. I am still deeply disturbed, and my heart aches for the victims and their families. It's these sorts of inequities that make me grind my teeth in frustration, and they happen every single day, all over the world.

Could I forgive Charles Roberts if my daughter was one of the dead or wounded? The simple answer is "no." Having killed himself, we'll probably never know why he did what he did, exactly, and we'll never, as a society, be able to punish him for it. Part of me feels that we're better off with the fellow cold and stiff, whether he took his own life or not.

I only wish he'd done us the favor of committing suicide before he'd taken the lives of five human beings, wounded five others, and caused depths of grief to their friends and family members that I hope I never experience.

No comments: