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Should There Be Mercy For the Murderous?
The Christian Diarist ^ | November 26, 2012 | JP

Posted on 11/26/2012 12:26:57 PM PST by CHRISTIAN DIARIST

It’s been 20 years since I sat across a conference table from the attorney representing Robert Alton Harris, a double-murderer who had spent 13 years on California’s Death Row.

The attorney hoped to make the case that, despite his crimes, Harris should be spared his scheduled date with the executioner. He related that the convicted murderer was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. That he was neglected as a child. That he was abused as an adolescent.

I’m sorry, I told the attorney. Your client killed two boys. He deserves to pay the forfeit for taking innocent lives.

And not long after that, Harris died in California’s gas chamber. His was the Golden State’s first execution since 1967.

I thought about Harris, the killer, after watching “Benji,” a documentary on the life and death of Chicago high school basketballer Ben Wilson, which debuted last month and re-aired yesterday on ESPN.

Wilson was rated the nation’s best in class in 1984. And just days before he was to begin his senior season, he got into a beef with two 16-year-old gang members, Billy Moore and Omar Dixon.

Moore pulled a .22-caliber pistol out of his waistband and shot 17-year-old Wilson twice. The high school basketball star died in the hospital.

Wilson’s murder made national news. And nearly three decades later, the circumstances of his premature death has made for a most poignant documentary.

Yet, what I found most poignant was not Wilson’s tragic story. Not his funeral, which drew more than 10,000 mourners. Not the grace with which the young man’s mother, a devout Christian, comported herself after her son was violently taken from her.

But the redemptive story of Billy Moore, young Ben Wilson’s killer.

Moore was sentenced to 40 years in prison for Wilson’s murder. He spent 19 years behind bars before being granted parole in 2004.

Agreeing to appear in the documentary, Moore remembered praying that Wilson would survive the shooting that would claim his life. Perhaps, he said, praying as hard as the victim’s mother.

At his sentencing, Moore said, he spoke to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, Ben’s grieving parents. “I gave them my deepest apology,” Moore said. “I didn’t want to be the one who stole (their son’s) dream.”

Today, Moore is a youth counselor. In 2009, he actually was recognized as a successful example of rehabilitation in a White House ceremony.

Twenty years ago, I would have argued that Moore should have been tried as an adult in Ben Wilson’s death and, if convicted, sentenced to life in prison, if not sentenced to death. I also would have strenuously objected to his parole, after serving little less than half sentence he actually received.

But my thinking has evolved over the past two decades.

I now believe there is no one beyond God’s redemption. Indeed, His Word promises: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

Billy Moore, the reformed killer, is living proof.


TOPICS: Religion; Society; Sports; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: criminaljustice; deathpenalty; murder; rehabilitation
I continue to believe there are some recalcitrant criminals, who shake their fists at God, who deserve the ultimate punishment.

But I now believe there are some convicted offenders who are truly repentant; who deserve forgiveness and mercy notwithstanding their crimes.

1 posted on 11/26/2012 12:27:08 PM PST by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I leave it up to God. I don’t think what I believe really matters to anyone other than God and myself.


2 posted on 11/26/2012 12:33:08 PM PST by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I always thought those poor Menendez boys should have been treated with leniency. After all, they were orphans.


3 posted on 11/26/2012 12:37:22 PM PST by jessduntno ("Socialism only works...in Heaven where they don't need it and hell where they have it." - RR)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

All that mercy crap is just the liberals’ way of saying that no one is responsible for anything - there is no free will.

In the liberal mind, the only ones who deserve punishment are people who say un-PC things.


4 posted on 11/26/2012 12:37:47 PM PST by I want the USA back (I love annoying liberals.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

You can forgive them all you want.

Society should not. Let them do their time first.


5 posted on 11/26/2012 12:39:11 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: stuartcr

What you said.


6 posted on 11/26/2012 12:39:14 PM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
I now believe there is no one beyond God’s redemption.
Execution won't interfere with that one way or the other.
7 posted on 11/26/2012 12:39:24 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (There goes the dominoes...)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Of course there should be mercy, that in no way removes the personal responsibility and punishment for the crimes.


8 posted on 11/26/2012 12:40:25 PM PST by svcw (Why is one cell on another planet considered life, and in the womb it is not.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I watched a show the other night...a sports documentary about two young men who combined to kill a great basketball player in Detroit for nothing other than a shove.

They made a point that while one of the two spent 20+ years incarcerated and then continued to be a career criminal - the other one came out a new man and is now giving lectures in Detroit about how to not “go down the wrong road”. They bragged about the 50% recidivism as if it were a coup.

I suppose I’m getting a tad mean in my old age (or coming closer to my grandfather’s philosphy)..but I know how to keep recidivism at 0% for all murderers.

If you ned somebody to give lectures in schools how about letting the guy who has worked every day for UPS - spent 10 years as a box kicker - then got promoted to night shift manager.


9 posted on 11/26/2012 12:40:46 PM PST by DJlaysitup
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To: stuartcr

“Murderous” by what standard? There’s the legal standard and the moral standard.

Also, if a parent walks in on someone molesting their child, chases that fleeing someone down and kills them in hot blood, that may be murder but mercy might be in order.

On the other hand, if someone kills another in cold blood to eliminate them as a witness to something or the other, mercy probably is not in order.


10 posted on 11/26/2012 12:41:11 PM PST by KrisKrinkle (Blessed be those who know the depth and breadth of their ignorance. Cursed be those who don't.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

There is nothing that I know of that would remove the possibility of redemption in God’s eyes of any individual where their criminal sentence is still carried out to the full extent of the laws of man.


11 posted on 11/26/2012 12:42:08 PM PST by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier who has survived 24 months of Combat deployment.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I’m for the victim of the crime pardoning their killer. When they do, sounds fair to me.


12 posted on 11/26/2012 12:42:50 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church shows up at your funeral)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I watched a show the other night...a sports documentary about two young men who combined to kill a great basketball player in Detroit for nothing other than a shove.

They made a point that while one of the two spent 20+ years incarcerated and then continued to be a career criminal - the other one came out a new man and is now giving lectures in Detroit about how to not “go down the wrong road”. They bragged about the 50% recidivism as if it were a coup.

I suppose I’m getting a tad mean in my old age (or coming closer to my grandfather’s philosphy)..but I know how to keep recidivism at 0% for all murderers.

If you need somebody to give lectures in schools how about letting the guy who has worked every day for UPS - spent 10 years as a box kicker - then got promoted to night shift manager - then made day foreman - and now has a nice house and is putting his kids through college.


13 posted on 11/26/2012 12:43:44 PM PST by DJlaysitup
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To: KrisKrinkle

Just goes to show how even the taking of a life is relative, but for some reason, people don’t like to hear about relativism.


14 posted on 11/26/2012 12:43:47 PM PST by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: GeronL

Actions have consequences.


15 posted on 11/26/2012 12:47:44 PM PST by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Nothing emboldens sin more than mercy.


16 posted on 11/26/2012 12:48:00 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

if one commits a crime, the price must be paid. Period.

If that criminal is trulrepentantnt, then he/she is right with G_d and whejudgmentnt comes, they have nothing to fear. Before that day, they have to be punished for what they did. If it is death. So be it.


17 posted on 11/26/2012 12:56:42 PM PST by rigelkentaurus
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Being merciful would be to execute them within 6 months of the convictiuon.

More merciful to the killer not to be living in prison and more merciful to the victims relatives.

Over 600 killers on death row in California and 99% will die from old age.


18 posted on 11/26/2012 1:03:48 PM PST by Venturer
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Mercy should consist of a dignified public hanging, a nice hood over the head to prevent ropeburn to the neck and hide the face of the perp from the sadistic and, most of all, some hearty hymn singing to comfort the perp and prepare him to meet his maker before the trap door is sprung.
19 posted on 11/26/2012 1:23:17 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Mercy should consist of a dignified public hanging, a nice hood over the head to prevent ropeburn to the neck and hide the face of the perp from the sadistic and, most of all, some hearty hymn singing to comfort the perp and prepare him to meet his maker before the trap door is sprung.
20 posted on 11/26/2012 1:24:23 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: jmacusa

Re; “Nothing emboldens sin more than mercy”
For sure! I once read an article in Reader’s Digest that was written by a Rabbi. It was entitled WHEN FORGIVENESS IS A SIN.
The writer was very clear as to how forgiving the unrepentant is very bad for both those who purport to “forgive” and those who feel that they have a right to forgiveness no matter what they do.


21 posted on 11/26/2012 1:34:39 PM PST by bog trotter
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
I agree completely that no one beyond God’s redemption. I know that for a fact, based on the best possible authority. Why is that relevant? God may forgive a pedophile, a rapist, or a murderer, but does that mean we should bet the safety of the next potential victim on a genuine reform? Certain criminals should be locked up forever, not because we choose not to forgive but because we choose to err on the side of caution once they have stepped far enough outside the scope of acceptable conduct.

I am not willing to bet any child's safety on the sincerity of a pedophile's remorse or on his "good behavior" in a prison where he doesn't have access to children. I am not willing to bet my wife's or daughter's safety on a rapist's conversion. Similarly, I won't bet an innocent person's life on a murderer's change of behavior. The merciful response includes balancing mercy to the innocent against mercy for the guilty. I may forgive the criminal and still not be willing to forget. God's forgiveness is what matters for the criminal, but the safety of the innocent should be a major factor in decisions on mercy for the guilty.

22 posted on 11/26/2012 1:34:59 PM PST by Pollster1 (Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

There is always God’s redemption, and actually I’m surprised that the young killers you named got as long as they did for a non-premeditated killing in an argument, even if the killer was a gang member. In any case, most states do not allow execution of anybody that age.

As for adults guilty of premeditated murder, especially depraved killers (such as the one who was finally and way too late put to death in CA), as it was said once, there’s nothing that clarifies the mind like the prospect of hanging.

In my opinion, they’re more likely to repent and find God’s mercy if they’re sentenced to death than anything else.


23 posted on 11/26/2012 1:37:45 PM PST by livius
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

If a murderer truly repents and pays for his sins, he will have a chance at going to Heaven when he dies.

Society’s job is to control crime by making criminals pay for it, thus discouraging others from stealing and killing because they fear the penalties, which will be justly applied.

If people commit deliberate murders, then they should face the death penalty. And if they subsequently repent while on death row, then as the saying goes, let God sort them out.

And if a Christian has contact with such people, he should urge them to repent and/or convert, not work at letting them go free, provided that they were justly convicted.


24 posted on 11/26/2012 1:43:42 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Give these animals mercy by throwing the switch or pushing the plunger on the syringe.But get it done.

It takes way to long to execute these murderous thugs.


25 posted on 11/26/2012 1:44:44 PM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Biggest problem I see with this story is the perp who got to live and extra 13 years on death row.

If we executed those who commit murder in under a year from the time they are convicted, the murder rate would drop radically.


26 posted on 11/26/2012 1:59:47 PM PST by Newbomb Turk (Hey Newbomb, where's your brothers ElCamino ?)
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To: jessduntno

You forgot the </ sarcasm> tag. Self-made orphans, indeed.

In my view, even after 20 years of appeals, death is too easy for murderers because it ends their suffering. However, the only way I support the present move toward life without possibility of parole as the most severe punishment is when it is also life in the strictest form of solitary confinment.

By the strictest form of solitary confinment, I mean complete solitude with absolutely no priviledges and no activities to divert their minds from the contemplation of their crimes. I visualize this as soundproof, padded cell kept in perpetual twilight; a cell kept at a temperature that is neither hot nor cold; a cell one never leaves; a cell where one will eat the same unvarying starvation-level meal, not too little and not too much, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. (Think something like vitamin-laced oatmeal made with beef broth.) No television, no radio, no books, no pen and paper, no nothing. The door closes and locks the condemned prisoner inside with their thoughts forever.

IOW, make the confinement the closest living equivalent of the tomb they sent their victims to. The purpose is punishment, not reform. BTW, if they go insane, so much the better; no medications as it increases their suffering.


27 posted on 11/26/2012 2:22:19 PM PST by Captain Rhino (Determined Effort is the hammer that Human Will uses to forge Tomorrow on the anvil of Today.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

Genesis 9:5-6

Last I heard, He hasn't evolved from his last position. Maybe it's in that new convenant I haven't seen along with Gay Marriage.

28 posted on 11/26/2012 2:30:07 PM PST by throwback (The object of opening the mind, is as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

When Wesley Allan Dodd got mercy from God when he accepted Christ as his Savior. His conversion was not faked.


29 posted on 11/26/2012 2:59:36 PM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

It is nice that you can be so forgiving, but it is not up to you. That is God’s prerogative.

To suggest that Stanley “Tookie” Williams should have been spared the needle belies that fact that many who are incarcerated for violent crimes and are rehabilitated only get God when the worst has befallen them.

Let them face god for their acts after their death, let them face their fellow citizens while they are alive. And if WE decide that this individual has committed a crime deserving of the ultimate penalty then let them face it.

The victims of these people were never given a chance to choose or repent. They were killed capriciously and without mercy. They should receive the same from their fellow citizens.


30 posted on 11/26/2012 3:03:46 PM PST by Ouderkirk (Democrats...the party of Slavery, Segregation, Sodomy, and Sedition)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Wasn’t Paul a murderer?

Some people deserve a good killing, however.


31 posted on 11/26/2012 3:08:46 PM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

There is a big difference between repentance and punishment.

If you commit a crime, you should be punished for that crime no matter if you are repentant or not.

I truly resent it when a plea bargain is offered to an offender, or an innocent person, that if they confess to the crime, whether or not they committed it, they will get a lesser sentence. Is this done solely to soothe the judge and the prosecutor, that they may sleep at night in the comfort that they have never, ever, convicted an innocent man?

Because they are lying to themselves.

Likewise, after conviction, judges often demand an admission of guilt, and *repentance*, or threaten to impose a harsher sentence. Of course, if you *admit* guilt, you also cannot appeal your sentence on the grounds of innocence. This is a foul dirty deal.

When you confuse repentance with punishment, the miscarriage of justice is almost guaranteed.

I remember the case of another California child killer, who was arrested and the evidence against him was damning. After an effective trial, just when the jury was being led out to reach their decision, he “flipped them off” with a hand gesture. To be expected from such scum.

They quickly found in guilty, and in that there was no fault. But then a juror said something horrific: “I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, until he flipped us off, and then I *knew* he was guilty!”

This stupid statement should have been enough to overturn the conviction, but it didn’t.

Yet this is the slippery slope you tread, when you consider redemption as mitigation to guilt and punishment.

Had the condemned killer not been executed, found Jesus, and became a good man, IT DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is that he is punished for his crime, no matter his state of mind. And if that punishment is execution, so be it. If he is to find redemption, let him do so before Saint Peter.

His chance for redemption on Earth is done. Justice demands punishment.


32 posted on 11/26/2012 3:12:51 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

I would forgive them and hope that God has mercy on them as they serve their life sentence with no parole. Forgiveness has nothing to do with a clear and sensible punishment.


33 posted on 11/26/2012 4:22:35 PM PST by ExpatGator (I hate Illinois Nazis!)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

For every reformed Mr. Moore, there are twenty repeat offending, murdering and raping Mr. Smiths who will be freed to murder more and more innocent people in the name of this woman’s “Christian” forgiveness.

This is what is forgotten from the last time we played footsies with European socialism in the name of liberalism’s “Christian” criminal “reform.” The innocent became an endless stream of victims and their injury was ignored in the name of a criminal’s endless excuses. All attention and money went to the criminals who repeated and repeated their crimes. No one in power cared.

Americans were told by the “forgiving” Limo liberals and lazy politicans: if you don’t give more to welfare, housing projects and race prefenences, these poor criminal predators will be forced to murder you too. They did not care at all about the slaughter their “forgiveness” caused. No doubt the Trayvon Martin stories about the poor wittle predators shot by their targeted victims will accompany this slaughter and liberals will be prosecuting victim who does not die peacefully like they do in England.

Do we have to repeat this incompetence and if we do repeat it, don’t slaughter the innocent in God’s name! Can’t we just observe the endless rape of Infidels in Europe or the mass murder in Mexico and call it a day?


34 posted on 11/26/2012 4:49:02 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: DJlaysitup

I’m not interested in “redemptive” stories either. All I see is someone who got away with murder and is now rather bragging about it. My idea of mercy is that we don’t torture them first.


35 posted on 11/26/2012 7:00:02 PM PST by A_perfect_lady (Great nations are born stoic and die epicurean. -Will Durant)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

If someone commits a capital crime, they desesrve the punishment, and if they are truly repentent, they will not want to be exempt from the punishment.

The soul is eternal, and if they are truly repentent, they will be rewarded.

Forgiveness and mercy is God’s to give. The law is (or should be) the law.


36 posted on 11/26/2012 9:15:32 PM PST by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: bog trotter

It can be said that to err is human and to forgive is divine, however too often when people say “I’m sorry’’ , what they’re really trying to do is change your mind.


37 posted on 11/28/2012 3:09:25 AM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
What did God require of premeditated murderers? He said send them back to Him so they can face their victim. Why it is since the beginning of this flesh age, flesh always deceives themselves they are in charge and fix the WORD they do not agree as being merciful?
38 posted on 11/28/2012 3:34:00 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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