Another Mistake

Posted: June 9, 2007 in Social Justice

I am inspired to write about an incident that happened many years ago by a poem in today’s edition of The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. The poem is from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice:


The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.


The incident of which I speak is my standing in front of a judge and giving her my input in a criminal case because I was family of the injured man: who was injured by the convicted young man through his criminal negligence.  At the time I was all law and order so I told the judge that people who get off too easy just laugh at the law and develop no respect for it. A couple of years later I might have had second thoughts about that tough stance had I thought about it when somebody I loved fell into the devil’s influence and became one of the convicted.

But, I didn’t. It wasn’t until this morning that I had this epiphany. I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if I had read the above poem to the judges in both cases – that is assuming I was allowed to speak in the second case.

One more thought: what if the judges were one and the same in both cases and remembered me from the first case (sitting in the court-room in the second case)? Nah, that’s a bit of a reach.


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