Tuesday, January 21, 2014

People, Like You and Me

As we view the all too common scenario on a local news network of a high speed chase ending in an arrest, our eyes full of disdain for the criminal in the mug shot that flashes across the screen, I fear somehow we detach from the story as if these types of events only occur outside of our realm of being.  Mystified by the reality of the events unfolding, we neglect the fact that the people committing these often destructive and treacherous acts, as alarming and disturbing as they may be, are still merely people like you and me.  They are someone's son, grandson, nephew, or brother. They babbled in infancy, scraped their knee in adolescence, and endured the unrelenting trauma of teen angst. And quite possibly they held their mom's hand every Sunday morning on a cold wooden pew.  

We forget to consider all the events that might have taken place in such a person's life that lead them to this low point. Maybe they suffered great tragedy like the loss of a parent and never learned how to cope or deal with it positively. Instead they turned to destructive behavior of alcohol and drug abuse. The fact is these people we frown upon with disgust and often cast aside as the culls of society are not merely individuals who float solo in and out of the judiciary spotlight, they have lives, families, jobs and friends.  While we may only give one moment's thought to this person whose actions deem them repulsive, at the very same moment, and many moments before and behind, his family members weep and pray for him.  For them, the story doesn't stop at the end of the seven minute news segment.  It continues. Knowing his actions are reprehensible and are much to their chagrin, they still want him back the way he was as a boy.  They want to see him have a second chance at life and they believe it is possible.

The perpetrator however cannot see over the wall of his own self-destruction to even notice the support of a loving family.  He quite possibly suffers from a mental disorder that doesn't allow for that kind of rationalization.   He may even at times believe his family is his enemy.  Regardless of the details of the actions and the charges, no matter how grotesque, we shouldn't be so quick to cast them off.  Rather, we should be prompted to help, to pray, to love, and to support both the perpetrator and their family. After all, next time the person in the mug shot that flashes across the screen many not be so far from home.