I’ve never been a fan of clichés. To me, they seem to be a substitute for thinking. A way to avoid articulation. That’s not to say I don’t — from time-to-time — use them. I admit, there are times when I’m just too damned lazy and take the “easy way out”, to use a cliché.
Now, there are many that annoy me… and then there a some that incense me.
“Everyone Deserves a Second Chance”
The crux of this argument always seems to fall back to “We’re only human”. Strictly adhering to this credence, my friends, is potentially dangerous. It is frightening that most people — upwards of 80% — feel this way, without giving it a second thought. Probably because they never had to think about it. Anyhow, it just sounds right to respond this way because, hey, haven’t we all made mistakes and weren’t we happy for another crack at doing better next time?
I suspect if each of us gave it serious thought — by personalizing it — that this would be reconsidered. Let’s begin by relating it to ourselves… as the offender. Take a minute to recall when you when given another chance for something you did wrong.
I bet we all thought about what we did that brought shame. For most of us, we are remembering things like being caught cheating on a test… or calling off of work sick and then being spotted at a ballgame by the boss… or even lying to family or friends to get out of doing something.
Weren’t we all happy that we were given a second chance?
Most reading this are (generally) good people, I predict. As such, we don’t instinctively relate this to evil or wicked acts. That is, not until it happens to us in our own lives.
To err is human, yes, and to deny that people make mistakes would be downright foolish. Still, a mistake is one thing (but never without consequences, some of which are catastrophic), but I’ll be damned if there is no difference between a blunder, a misgiving, and serious malefactions.
There most certainly are.
Well… “to err”, should be taken in context as a matter of degrees. All I can say with certainty is that “everyone deserves a (single) chance”. This, I would assert, is a shared premise. Beyond that is worthy of consideration.
For the sake of scope and breadth, I’m not talking about forgiveness. Neither am I addressing redemption nor reconciliation. These are derivatives from the underlying act. I’m keeping the focus narrowly on “second chances”.
To explain what I mean (i.e., by a matter of degrees), I’ll use some obvious examples of who I consider as the undeserving. Included would be violent offenders; like school shooters, rapists, child abusers, murderers, and those who assault the helpless (like Austin Issac Vantrease and Jonathan Matthew May, who beat my son into a coma even while he laid beaten and unconscious on the gravel parking lot). If you adamantly believe people like Adolph Hitler, Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Kaczynski, Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May, or the like, deserve at least one free pass then, I suppose, there is no practical reason for you to continue reading.
I simply won’t be able to persuade you.
Yet, incredibly, some nefarious people (like those mentioned above) were given a second chance by the justice system! That doesn’t mean that we, as a society, must also. On the contrary. They must always be under intense scrutiny.
Take Austin Vantrease, who kicked the essence out of a defenseless, unconscious, and peaceful soul. Should he EVER be left alone with any prone person? Is is wise to grant him another chance to, say, babysit a child, be it his or another parents? Or care for a weak or elderly person.
Would you give him a second chance with someone you love who is vulnerable?
Austin Vantrease was incarcerated at St. Marys Correctional Center’s, who’s mission is to provide for the custody, control and care of convicted, adult, male felons who have been convicted of severe crimes against man or nature.
It should cause grave concern. The law doesn’t forbid him from hosting a sleepover, but parents of children who come in contact with him should. Many community groups (like youth sports, schools, and churches) prohibit a violent felon — such as Austin Vantrease — from participating. They recognize the risks and there will be no second chances given.
Good for them!
As a society, we can — and should — raise red flags. Any known censurable adult must be called out to the community. If, for no other reason, to keep them under a watchful eye. I wonder, how many responsible parents would allow their child to go on a field trip if chaperoned by a violent felon?
I hope you consider what I said. Did you — and do you — believe everyone deserves a second chance, unconditionally?
On the Other Hand
For perspective (and perhaps a chuckle), I’d like to wrap this up by providing an example of someone I’d give a second chance. Perhaps a good friend who wantonly stole my last piece of pizza. Well, they’d have to be sincerely, genuinely, and overly apologetic…
Because I love pizza!