This past Tuesday I came face to face with one of the men that shot and killed my grandfather 19 years ago. It was the first time I have ever seen him in person. I meant to write about this Tuesday night, but, honestly, it took me a while to digest what had happened.
I met my family in downtown Cleveland at the Federal courthouse. I’ve never been in a courtroom before. Federal Courtrooms are… intimidating… even for law-abiding citizens such as myself. We were there because the man who was convicted of murdering my grandfather, whom is on death row, is claiming a mistrial in 1991.
Here is the deal: I don’t want my grandfathers killer to be executed. This isn’t always a popular opinion, but I really don’t think that you understand until you are part of the victims family. Let me explain. It’s taken me a long time to deal with everything you have to deal with when someone you love is murdered; I didn’t live a “normal” childhood because of it; I was overly sensitive to things a child should not even be aware of.
But I forgave the men who killed my grandfather. I forgave them because it’s exhausting carrying around that much hatred for someone. I decided that I didn’t want him to be executed because, let’s face it, playing God and choosing who lives and who dies just breeds more hatred in the world. He may be a horrible man, but he is a man with a family; he is a man with people who love him and people who would be destroyed if he was executed. And, truth be told, I do not want anyone to feel like I’ve taken away someone they love; I’ve felt that pain. No one should have to feel it
All this being said, I still want him to be in prison forever. And he’s claiming that the reason he found himself in this situation, is because of the way he was raised and the extremely messed up childhood he had. Let me tell you, he HAD a messed up childhood. I’ll give you that. His mother was a drug addict and alcoholic. He and his mother were beat by his stepfather.
But we all have a story. You can either choose to let it define you, or you can call it a life experience and move on. I’m not saying that these moments don’t change us, cause surely they do. All I’m saying is you take from it what you want to take from it.
We all have things happen to us that help to shape us as individuals — both good things and bad things. But we decide what to do with those experiences. We decide whether to take them and grow from them, or take them and demolish our lives in the name of our tragedies. You create your fate. You decide whether or not you shoot someone. You are in control of your own life.
Basically, I’m not sure what this blog post is about. I have been thinking about getting this out all week, and I am still unsuccessful. Oh well…