Monday, November 5, 2012

Where has humanity gone?

Okay, this one may be a doozy of a rant when all's said and done, because I am writing out of frustration and sadness, and just want to yell at all of humanity right now.  Yeah...I'm pretty fired up!

Where has humanity gone?  What about grace, mercy, the benefit of the doubt, and regard for other people's feelings, and even their very lives?

What is spurring me on to write this?  The comments to this story that I read on Facebook.  A woman was drunk, hit-and-ran a pedestrian, then tried to cover it up.  She was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Yes, I realize that is a horrible, horrific, tragic thing to do.  And I don't disagree that she should have to serve time for killing someone.  But the comments made by others are so harsh, so judgmental, and so...just flat out mean...that I am sitting her asking myself, "Where has humanity gone?"  With the exception of my comment and one other (out of 50), everyone posted to the effect of, "kill her, fry her, she should've gotten life, eye for an eye, no sympathy for her...."  All the posts show no mercy whatsoever!  That makes me so sad and angry!

I don't care who you are or what you believe, but if you don't have a law degree and/or weren't sitting in that courtroom, then you have no right whatsoever to say such things!  You don't know the whole story, you haven't reviewed all the evidence - let's face it, you don't know how judicial law works (neither do I, and I'm not claiming that I do) - and most importantly, you don't know this woman or what happened that night! Who are you to say she deserves to die?  Did you witness her crime with your very own eyes?  Are you a judge?  Are you a lawyer?  Are you the victim?  Are you God Himself?  What gives you the right, then, to play judge - or worse, play God - and say this woman should be shown no mercy?

But what bothers me even more is that I believe this is a good window into the souls of Americans.  And what's so haunting to me about that is, its clear that only 2 people out of 55 (so, less than 4% of the population) can think objectively and give someone the benefit of the doubt.  Less than 4% of people are willing to extend grace and mercy to another human being, no strings attached.

That scares me.  A lot.  To me, that speaks volumes of the hearts and humanity - or, rather, utter lack thereof - that exists in most people.

From a government standpoint, if we commit a crime, we are all afforded a trial in a court of law.  Thank God its not a court of public opinion, because our prison system would be one big revolving door of death!  Let's think really long and hard here....  Is that really what we want?  Do we really want a justice system that, essentially, reverts back to the days of witch trials?  The mentality I'm getting from what I read through is such that the justice system is wrong if the public doesn't like the outcome, and the perpetrator should be dragged out of jail into the streets and publicly guillotined because the general public is underwhelmed by the verdict.  No regard for real justice, and no regard for someone's freedom and/or life.  If we say we support our constitution, our American justice system, and a fair trial, then how can we also be so quick - in our own hearts and minds - to play judge, and "convict" someone and "sentence them to death" just because the little 2-minute news blurb we heard made it sound shocking?  (Newsflash: That is the media's job!  Read between the lines, people!)  If we say we support "innocent until proven guilty," then how can we turn around and "convict" someone without knowing all the evidence?  We can't.  So we shouldn't.

From a Christian standpoint, if you are a believer, then aren't you called to extend mercy and grace to all people?  Its not a pick and choose system.  Jesus called us to love the unlovable, and extend grace to the vile.  We aren't called to play judge.  And we certainly aren't called to wish death upon anyone else, no matter what they've done.  Justice and life/death decisions are for the court to sort out.  Let the court do what its designed to do.  We are called to extend grace and mercy to all people, regardless of who they are or what they've done.  That is what Christ has done for us, and if we profess to be believers - representatives of Him - then we'd best be doing that, too.

And just from a humanity standpoint, truly, what kind of people does it make us if we can't be merciful and peaceful?  As Ghandi said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."  Without grace and mercy, we are not the advanced specie we claim to be.  We are savages, no more evolved than cavemen.

If this lack of grace and mercy, and utter disregard for others' feelings and lives continues, I fear for our future and our society.  I fear for our justice system, the hearts and motives of Christians, and the hearts and motives of humanity in general.

This probably made little to no sense to anyone out there, but I needed to get it off my chest.  And hopefully I've made someone think, because its clear to me that there's too much judging, and too little compassionate, critical thinking going on.  And if I am wrong, I hope your actions will prove me wrong, and I'll begin seeing a lot more compassion and a lot less cruel, heartless judging going on.

What do you think?  Am I just being a peace-loving, idealistic hippie again, or do I make a valid point?  Thoughts?

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