Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PAGES FROM THE PAST - MENTAL HERITAGE



T
his story of someone needing to be locked up before it was too late is one with which we have since become all too familiar. Here was a man who was obviously dangerous. The warning signs were there for all to see, yet he was allowed to walk free with predictable consequences.


Was the psychiatrist right in seeing this man's miserable childhood as the root cause of his crimes? One of the killer's sisters certainly thought so. She discovered his whereabouts and his fate only when she read of his murders in a local newspaper. Her letter to him contained perhaps, the only expression of compassion he had ever received in his whole life. He read it in his cell:



Honey, I'm not writing this to you but to the little boy I saw so long ago. The little boy
with such splendid ideas, the little boy who hoped to rise above the filth and sordidness into which he was born.

Honey, that little boy has committed no crime. No, honey, it was the father and mother rotting in the torments of hell that committed the crime.


A drunken father and a thing we called mother, letting five little babies shift for themselves. Hungry and cold, wandering the streets all hours of the night. Finally, one of those parents ended up in prison, then the other one going.


Yes, honey, that was the heritage left us. Five little dirty kids, growing up, going out in the world, trying to desperately to overcome our heritage.


But, honey, I know it would have reached up and slapped you back as many times as it has me. I wanted to teach music. I took the exam and passed, only to be told I could never teach because my mother and father had been in prison.


But you, honey, you took the hardest slap of all. You struggled so hard to get to the top only to find out you couldn't stay there because of things that happened while you were still a baby. That was a cruel blow, honey.


Heritage is something you have to fight all your life, but, honey, in a weak moment you forgot to fight.


We here do not think of you as committing a crime. We only pour our love out to you and pray. There isn't much more to say except I'd give anything in this world if I could take your place.



A very moving letter of a loving sister to a brother.

Those words were written not long after the man's execution. They remain as true now as they were half a century ago.


9 comments:

Pusong MaMonching said...

The letter made me cry!

Mon said...

I read the article all over again and it's really heartbreaking. Do you believe in capital punishment?

m8malone said...

Yes, it's a heartbreaking story. I can tell you another just as sad - mine own.

Yet, I never committed crimes against others because of my suffering.

It's called free will - choices - priorities.

May Your Glass Always Be Half Full

Bay Martin said...

@ PusongMamonching,

New identity ha! Indeed, the letter is full of emotions and expression of priceless love of a sister to a brother.

Bay Martin said...

@ Mon,

Heartbreaking, heartrending, pitiful, painful, moving, poignant, sad. I felt the same way when I lost my two sisters from illness and didn't get the chance to attend their interments. It was too painful.

Bay Martin said...

@ m8malone,

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

We have our shares of ups and downs and wonder of all wonders, we are able to rise up again after each fall.

MonchMonch said...

You didn't answer my question about capital punishment. What's your view?

Bay Martin said...

As Christians we ought to ask What does the Bible say concerning this subject? What extra-biblical arguments are made on behalf of, or against capital punishment? What types of responses are offered to those arguments?

Ironically Christians are just as confused on this issue as is the general public. The Biblical position is clear in both the Old and New Testaments that God is favor of capital punishment. That position is supported by several extra-biblical arguments as well.

While God may kill the innocent or show mercy to the guilty at His own discretion, that is His prerogative, not ours. We have been given one command and one command only: he who sheds man's blood shall have his own blood shed by man. Life is not the government's to decide what to do with it, and when to make exceptions. Apart from divine intervention, government has the divine-ordained responsibility to take the life of the individual who unjustly took the life of another human being.

MonRa said...

What crime did he commit?