At a recent event, in reference to such conflicts as bullying, aggression and terrorism, my interviewer asked, “Shouldn’t we fight back, shouldn’t all criminals pay for their crimes?” My response was that while punishment is needed to maintain justice, law and order in society, it does not need to completely destroy a person, their life or his/her family. Rather, the criminal justice system should serve to repair and give the perpetrator a second chance to become a better human being. As I have learned, ‘justice isn’t truly served if not tempered with mercy.’
Justice can be served without violating HUMAN RIGHTS and DIGNITY. Years after my shooting, not only was I able to heal physically, emotionally, and mentally, I also let go of any bitterness in my heart, finding it more important to forgive. In doing so, I was not only able to focus on enjoying my life and the company of my loved ones again, but also saw the possibility of a world based on mutual respect, compassion, empathy, and understanding.
I hope you have seen this story in the news. If not, I encourage you to take a moment to read it: A compassionate judge sentences a veteran to 24 hours in jail, then joins him behind bars. This is an incredible example of justice with mercy, compassion, and empathy at its core. Our world needs more judges like Lou Olivera!