Imagine hypothetically that your son was introduced to drugs at a very young age. Imagine that despite your very best efforts, they became addicted and started down the road of despair. And then, quickly, months rather than years later; your son is dead. And the police tell you it is by the hand of an older person your kid trusted, and this person gave them the drugs.
But you know, you really cannot fool yourself, that your kid has been the one who has been involved in risky behavior and pushing boundaries for years. They were the first to pick up that still smoldering cigarette end in the park at twelve years old, the first one to act out sexually, the first to smoke weed. The first to push every boundary you ever tried to enforce.
And this kid, your kid, has been living with these people who are on the edge of society, because that is where they have felt most comfortable. Your child has found their tribe of struggling people and for the first time ever, they have a group of like minded individual and for a while, they feel normal. And as a parent, you are holding your breath, crossing your fingers and toes, and hoping that these people on the edge are strong enough and can save your child from going over, because your kid relates to them and not to you. And for a while, they do; they support and keep your child alive. But the strong ones get well and move away, rejoining a society that welcomes them back. The weak are left behind. We have all watched the wildlife shows and, like the wildebeest on the plains, the young and the weak, will get taken down.
Now think about this; that this child, your child; has endless amounts of love and compassion for every human on earth. There is not a person out there that is not salvageable and while this causes you great concern as a parent, there is a part of you that respects and admires the humanity of the child you created.
This is uncomfortable, but work with me here. The person who gave my child the drugs that killed her is an addict. Not part of a cartel, not getting rich, but an addict. I have no doubt my child would have compassion for his addiction; I wish I could do so well. My lovely young daughter at nineteen years old had never become a drug dealer. Thank goodness. She never lived long enough to go down the road of theft and dealing. If she had lived long enough, there were two choices; she would have found recovery, or she would have gone down this path.
This has been written because today, I was asked by the Commonwealth Attorney how I felt about a plea deal for the person who has been charged with murder for my daughter’s death.
So, when does compassion die?