Thursday, July 21, 2011


When I was checking the BBC this morning, this story popped out at me. For those who will say "tl;dr" and refuse to click the link, the summary is that Texas has executed a man named Mark Stroman who hunted down and shot "people who resembled Muslims," killing two of them and injuring at least one other. The kicker, for me, was that this man's plea for clemency was backed by Rais Bhuiyan- a survivor of the shooting. Mr. Bhuiyan's rationale was that, while Mr. Stroman had committed a hate crime, his execution would not eradicate hate crimes from our world.

I thought I'd share this article because sometimes- especially in the field I work in- mercy can be hard to come by. Abusers don't take mercy on their victims, commanders don't either, and the people who day-to-day deal with the sentencing and punishment of the abuser often treat the whole system like a cut-and-dry deal ("Court-ordered anger management classes, and in two years the slate's wiped clean. Ta-da!") instead of the only real treatment option that might make a difference. Not only is it refreshing to see someone who has every right to be angry and vindictive choose to look for a way to make the world better instead; it's also an opportunity to ask ourselves how we can practice mercy as we fight to make the world a better place for all people. How can we practice mercy- education, empathy, respect- instead of condescension, vindictiveness, and dismissal?

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