Judges, Juries…and Forgiveness

Seems that I continually have serious philosophical differences & issues with some judges & juries out there with their controversial rulings.

Let’s take a quick look at the case of Amber Guyger, the now-former Dallas police officer who shot & killed Botham Jean in his own apartment last year. Guyger is white; Jean was black.

She concocted this absolutely-ludicrous story of how she returned home late one evening & “mistakenly” identified his apartment as her own (which was one floor below).

When she heard noises inside, she barged in, service revolver in hand. Botham, who was eating a bowl of ice cream & watching TV, was shot dead by Guyger.

She claimed that she “felt threatened” by Jean because of his race & size.

But the coroner’s report seems to dispute that as he was shot twice while still on the couch or just preparing to get up.

And there was evidence presented (several of her texts & tweets) by the prosecution of her obvious disdain & mistrust for black people.

Her story was total BS.

Many believe she may have been a “spurned lover.”

While the Dallas jury indeed found her guilty, they chose to sentence her to (only) 10 years, while the prosecution requested life imprisonment & they could choose a sentence of 2 to 99 years.

10 years???

She was a trained police officer. If she indeed “feared for her safety”, why not retreat, seek cover & call for back-up like you’ve been instructed?

You were “afraid of his size”, yet you shot him twice before he could even get up off the couch?

Here’s my issue…

An armed robber was recently sent away for 45 years for threatening an officer & killing a police dog.

Guyger’ll be eligible for parole in 5 years.

Botham Jean will still be dead in 5 years.

And in 10 years.

And for as long as she’s alive.

While I’m glad that the jury actually convicted her (the defense was requesting that they find her innocent under the Stand Your Ground concept, where a resident is not required to retreat when in their own home, as they claim that she believed she was), I believe the actual sentence was a miscarriage of justice.

I’ve also read about so many other cases…one more discouraging & depressing than the next…where defendants were let off with incredibly-light or suspended sentences for serious crimes.

Rape.

Sexual abuse of a child.

Terrible mistreatment & endangerment of a child.

In the rape case, the judge’s reasoning for “community service & no jail time” was that he didn’t want to “ruin the young man’s life, who had a very promising future”.

Seriously?!? Really?

What about the young woman’s life that this monster has already ruined? What the hell is going on here?

There was the case of a school bus driver in upstate New York found guilty of abusing a six year old girl. A six year old girl.

This animal gets a suspended sentence…and he had a prior record!!!

These judges and juries must realize that they’re there to mete out the appropriate punishment judgment for the crime committed. You’re not there to be sympathetic toward the defendant.

If anything, you should be protecting the victims, and all the innocent citizens of this country, by putting these criminals away!

Show no sympathy toward these animals…save that for the poor victims & their families!

And, explain to me, how does your excessive & extreme leniency help serve as a possible deterrent to all the other sickos and weirdos out there?

I just don’t understand what goes through these judges’ minds when they don those damn robes!

It’s a robe, damnit! It doesn’t signify that you’re royalty nor a blessed saint!

My God, how ’bout considering the plight of what the victims went through, the innocent victims who did nothing wrong, and had this evil perpetrated upon them by these disgusting beasts?

Then you go and let the defendants off with a suspended sentence or just a slap on the wrist? And we wonder why there’s such a propensity for somebody committing their 2nd or 3rd or whatever crime? They’re not being taught the lesson the very
first time…or the second time…or the third time when they’re caught doing something wrong.

When you hand down the sentence, it should be for that crime committed and the length of the sentence should be reflective of 2 considerations: their prior record &
the likelihood that they’ll do something like that again in the future. (Yes, I fully understand the need to rehabilitate & how a life in prison often deepens the negative character even more. But taking little to no punitive action is mere enabling more of the same behavior.)

An ounce of prevention…

This is not rocket science. We need judges who not just want to rule on the crime, but want to help stem future crime. We deserve justices & juries who will not tolerate this nonsense!

I’m not gonna use the word “liberal” as that’ll immediately get a rise outta people (both ways). This level of disregard for the public, of the greater good, is rampant in courtrooms throughout the land.

I wonder how these “forgiving hearts” would feel if this was THEIR daughter or THEIR son that was the victim.

Would they think & rule the same way? Would they still be comfortable with that suspended sentence or the proverbial “slap on the wrist” or that nonsensical “boys will be boys” mentality?

Would they be so worried about the young man’s bright future when he just ruined your daughter’s life?

Good businessmen put themselves in their customers’ shoes.

Good politicians put themselves in their constituents’ shoes.

Good judges & juries need to put themselves in the victims’ shoes, in the citizens’ shoes.

Know why the hell you’re sitting up on that bench with your silly li’l gavel.

It’s to carry out the law.

Yes, you’re allowed to be human. To have feelings. To feel sorry for people.

But, please, let’s not misplace those emotions or let them affect you irrationally.

Understand what you should be doing…what you should not be doing…and, above all, be fair.

To everyone.

Yes, to the defendants…not a problem.

But also to the victims.

And to us.

Remember, you are NOT the law! You interpret it & carry it out as prescribed.

And when you do have a great deal of latitude in applying it, do so with keeping all the parties in mind!

On a somewhat-related topic…

“Forgive your enemies.”

Hmmmm… 🤔

While I understand that it’s (supposed to be) the Christian thing, the “right thing”, to do, I’m not sure that I actually agree.

First off, they’re your enemy for a reason. A valid reason.

(If someone or some group is your enemy “just because”, then you got some pretty serious issues.

With yourself.)

You need not not agree with everyone, worship the same G/god (or none at all), believe in the same stuff. That’s fine. Doesn’t make you enemies.

Enemies have already done something seriously wrong. Or want to.

Against you or ones you love.

Or against innocent people.

Sorry, but I ain’t loving my enemies.

Nor am I forgiving them.

It may be a different question if & when we somehow become ex-enemies…through an improved understanding, a change in behavior or a combination thereof.

But as long as you’re my enemy, I am neither loving you nor forgiving you.

In the first case that I discussed here (where Officer Amber Guyger killed Botham Jean), at the sentencing portion of the trial, Botham Jean’s brother asked if he could approach the defendant.

Upon getting permission, he walked up to her, gave her a warm hug…and forgave her.

Perhaps he’s a better man than me. A better Christian than me.

But I doubt it.

I would never, ever forgive her…no matter what she did or say, now or anytime in the future.

I would despise her guts until my last breath.

To do anything less would be dishonoring my brother, spitting in his eye.

Look, I’m gonna be very, very honest & frank here (not that I haven’t been, for even for one second or with a single word, here in all my rambling & rantings)…

There are a few people who disrespected my wife Laurie during the last year of her life…by what they did or said or by what they didn’t. Now, while I don’t believe they intentionally meant to hurt her…look, she cried, and not once during her entire 6-year battle with cancer, did Laurie ever cry for any other reason…they knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

They abandoned her at the very point of her life that she needed them most.

They made my Laurie cry.

Oh, after she died, they did all the prerequisite sobbing, the “Woe is me!” crap, the “I’ll always be there for Heather & you”.

I can take care of myself & I tried my very best to fulfill both roles for Heather (though I could never, ever replace her Mom).

But Laurie needed them. Didn’t need their stupid crocodile tears after she died, but needed them when she was suffering. In pain. Lonely. Fearing the inevitable. Actually thinking that SHE may have done something wrong to THEM.

You wanna know exactly how I felt when my wife thought she may have done something wrong to upset them?

To upset them???

When she started crying as she asked me, “Baby, what did I do wrong?”

I will never, ever forget what they did, nor will I ever forgive them.

Never.

“But you can’t live with that hate in your heart, Mike! It’s not healthy!”

I would never forgive myself if I forgave them. To me, that would be the ultimate act of disrespect & dishonor.

I may not always be a good person, or even far from it, but I am an honorable man.

They had the opportunity to do the right thing when Laurie was alive, but refused to do it.

They waited until she passed.

Now I had & have the opportunity to do the right thing (in many people’s eyes) while I’m still alive, but I refuse to do it.

Maybe I’ll do it after I die.

Probably not.

As always, thank you so much for listening!

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