Even the darkest stories have a glimpse of beauty.
I was sitting in my office, reading an assignment for class, when I heard the news. An active aggressor is threatening the lives of my Loved ones? Oh heck no! After quickly texting my girlfriend, my friends and anyone else who might be near the crime, I noticed how fast I became enraged. Sure, on the surface I was calm, but in my mind I instantly dehumanized the assailant, and I was so relieved once I heard that he had been "taken down." But, in reflection, he was human too.
In fact, he was young man who had challenges just like the rest of us. He had dreams, goals, beliefs, and his opinion mattered just like ours do. What about that young man's parents, his family, his friends? What about his younger siblings or others who may have seen him as a role model? What about his future potential should he have chosen a different path, or sought help? After my initial reaction, I began to realize that while I see no justification for his acts of violence, I do still care about that young man: I still Love that young man.
In reflection of these events, my perspective of humanity has been challenged. I am an advocate for loving all people, regardless of their trials, tribulations, actions and/or mistakes. However, the thought of someone harming my close friends and family, or even making them feel threatened, challenged my opinion of universal Love, at least for a moment. But Love is abundant and Love is not to be bound or withheld due to anger and fear.
Many may say that the young man got what he deserved or that he deserved much worse. But I argue that the man deserved far better than this outcome. Why? Because that boy deserved to have treated himself, others and the world in a much better manner on that day. He deserved to give himself a chance to express himself, or learn to express himself, or fight to express himself, in a manner that benefited his cause without damaging our human integrity. Moreover, he deserved to give himself a better legacy, a better ending to his story which, although it is tragic, still holds a glimpse of beauty: He must have done some good.
If I could speak to the young man now, I would simply tell him that I forgive him. I would ask that, given a second chance, he find a better way to make his point or deal with his troubles. But, I would grab his hand in mine and say "I Love you brother, rest in peace."
For if I allow my anger, although it may seem righteous, to outshine my opportunity to Love and my capacity to forgive, I too would be robbing myself of a greater legacy.