Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why some people shoot

The nation is saddened once again over gun violence. Anger apparently festered so long in the mind of a troubled individual that he finally decided to take action, snuffing innocent lives with weapons. And we sit in our nice little homes in nice little neighborhoods and wonder how anyone could do something like that.

I have a different take on this.

Some of you know that I befriended a prisoner, Maurice Carter, in 1995, and spent the next 9 years trying to prove his innocence and trying to free him. He was eventually freed due to illness, after serving 29 years for a crime he did not commit. That was just about 50% of his life. Think he should have been angry...or could have been?

If you were finally released after 29 years of incarceration for a crime that someone else committed, might you consider taking revenge against the snake who escaped a serious drug charge by telling a lie about your involvement in a crime? How about the crooked cops that set this up so they could claim that a case was solved...would you think about getting even? And then there was the prosecutor who obviously had no case, but knew that an all-white jury could easily convict a black man of shooting a white cop. How would you feel about that? And then what about the judge...a judge who sentenced you to life in prison on an assault charge? Not murder, or rape. Assault! How would you feel about that?

Are getting my point? The system many times must assume some responsibility for pushing people over the edge.

In the Carter case, I'd like to say that things changed because I came on the scene. But I know better than that. Things changed because God intervened. Maurice saw that his anger was counter-productive, and his kindness and gentleness became exemplary. And he didn't stop there...he was instrumental in forming what is now HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS so that he could turn this negative into a positive.

But things could have been different. This could have resulted in guns and violence and mayhem. And on the day after the massacre, people would be blaming Maurice Carter.

Think about it.

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