"I would honestly give my life if I could bring them back." Eric said.
"It was what I'd been waiting to hear, but I still wanted him punished." - Meagan's mother
That was the reaction of Meagan's mother to Eric’s words. Eric had been drunk-driving and he killed Meagan and her friend instantly when his car hit them. When I read about Meagan’s mother forgiving the man who killed her daughter and friend in an accident because he was drunk while driving, I thought there must have been something so compelling that made her do it. As I finished the article, I understood. There was remorse from the person and he had asked for forgiveness. Though Meagan’s mother had forgiven him, she nevertheless wanted him to pay for his mistake. Eric will be released in November after serving his shortened 11-year sentence. The victim’s mother also helped in the appeal to shorten it. They now work together spreading the word on anti-drunk driving even as he is finishing his sentence for what he had done, wearing a prison uniform and in shackles while talking before a crowd. I found their joint effort – victim and offender working together for the same cause, simply amazing. Not many could easily forgive as this mother had done. But then, not many offenders can genuinely be remorseful and want to turn their lives around as he did.
The other day, a colleague told me about the traumatic experience her friend’s family is going through. Her friend and her daughters were waiting to cross the street to go to Church early Sunday morning when they were side-swiped by a speeding car. The driver tried to escape but a good Samaritan followed the driver in his motorcycle until he was cornered and apprehended. The driver was drunk, driving without a license and with female passengers after coming from a party. What is so irritating about it is that the driver’s parents had so easily name-dropped their political lineage, the father being the grandson of a late senator and vice president. Should that have made them holier than thou and untouchable? Should that have made the authorities fear that they are treading on a dangerous path if the driver, the great grandson of a politician was apprehended?
Isn’t it even more sickening when the driver’s mother approached the victim’s mother that all their expenses will be paid if no case is filed against her son? I wonder how her face looked when the victim’s mother replied “You love your son and want him to be free but my child died and the other is fighting for her life…” Well, the victim’s mother left and hadn’t been heard from. No help was extended to pay for all the expenses caused by her son’s drunk-driving. The victim’s church extended the help the victim’s family needed.
I wonder? Does the value of human life mean so little that people can just offer money in exchange for a lost or damaged life as if others’ lives don’t matter? That people can just be paid off so others who have victimized people can go scot-free without getting punished? That if the aggrieved refuses to accept the “bribe,” it is the aggrieved who will suffer?
I can understand only too well a mother’s love for her child. But children will never learn if we tolerate their wayward ways and bribe their way to freedom without making them realize their mistakes and suffer the consequences. There is forgiveness but there should also be justice. The value of human life cannot be disregarded.
By Lylin Aguas