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Forgiving a Murderer

Forgiving a Murderer

How should Cho be remembered?

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Published: May 1, 2007


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Visitor Comments: 104

(104) katherine, June 20, 2007 12:47 PM

RE: Can we have compassion for the mentally ill?

Certainly, they are due compassion as anyone else is. However, we should not *excuse* and *dismiss* their violent actions because of their illness. For society to function, they must be held responsible for their actions -- stand trial, etc. Perhaps they should be given a different punishment (hospital instead of prison?), but we cannot allow a mentally ill person to continue to hurt others, or themselves, under the guise of compassion. It doesn't do them justice to ignore their actions and give them liberty to do such things again, any more than it is good for our society to let them have freedom to do it again.

(103) Debbie Ross, June 19, 2007 1:54 PM

Can we have commpassion for the mentally ill?

I am doing a presentation this summer on the Jewish view of homocide and suicide. I would appreciate input, references, on the subbject.

(102) katherine, June 6, 2007 1:16 PM

Misplaced forgiveness

I'm wondering about some of these comments. So, if Cho had lived, should he have been sent him to prison? Should he have been punished at all? If he was a victim, it seems horribly unfair to *punish* him for something he "couldn't help", right?

I was a victim of a loveless, abusive family, but I didn't turn to murdering people. I didn't decide to "make the world pay" for my pain. I turned to G-d.

People are forgetting that Cho had a choice. In fact, he had many choices. He even could have asked his family for more choices if he ran out of his own ideas for choices. People must be held responsible for their actions.

It's easier to forgive him because he turned the gun on himself. He became a martyr instead of a murderer. Would people have sent him flowers and offered comforting words had he lived and stood trial for those murders? He'd still be Cho, victim of bullies, etc. If Cho had lived, would it be so easy to forgive him? Would people be so quick to dismiss his actions as those of an unfortunate victim himself and deem that as having been punishment enough?

In an effort to forgive, there's a big difference between being sympathetic of what happened to him and the almost dismissive "He couldn't help it" attitude that has been happening. It is not okay to kill people. Period.

(101) Roxanne, May 14, 2007 9:18 AM

True forgiveness is when the person least deserves to be forgiven, forgiveness is not earned, it is a gift. I was hurt as a child, by family members, not once did they say, I am sorry, in fact they act as if nothing happen, yet G-d has placed in my heart, a love, and a forgiveness for people who did not love me. To forgive starts in the heart of the person or people who were hurt. People who are hurting, hurt other people this is not right, just a fact, what he did in killing those students was wrong. He had to be hurting very bad, to do something like this. It is the hurting that this man suffered that caused him to take the lives of these student we forgive, we ask God to forgive the act.

(100) Charlotte B., May 13, 2007 10:41 PM

we grieve - God punishes evil

Are all murderers deranged? Can't even some of them be pure evil? I believe it is not for us to forgive. The person needing forgiveness must request it from the person hurt, but even moreso, the sinner needs to ask G-D for forgiveness. We are not G-D. Cho didn't ask for forgiveness. This is between Cho and G-D. It is not our place to forgive sin. In the midst of shock and grief, I am not thinking of forgiving the evil someone brought into my life. After the initial shock wears off, I'm thinking of justice that G-D demands on earth and in eternity. I agree with you, Rabbi.

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