Monday, August 23, 2010

Knee Jerk Reaction

Virginia has just announced that it is going to end face-to-face visitation for its death row inmates, becoming only the second state in the nation to do so. Inmates will be allowed visitation via video conference only. Virginia is citing better safety and lessening of the burden on corrections workers as reasons and claims video conferencing may even lead to an increase in 'visits' beyond immediate family.

Those against the change say it is inhumane and that it hurts both the inmate and the inmate's family members -- those who don't get an opportunity to say goodbye before their loved one is executed.

I know. I know what the knee jerk reaction is from most and I know why. Most people probably think this is exactly what the person deserves. Most will say that the victim did not have an opportunity to say goodbye to his or her family. That the victim's family members did not have a chance to say goodbye to him or her. So why should the perpetrator be allowed visits and goodbyes?

Because we should strive to be better.

My knee jerk reaction was that a human being was going to be killed and would not be allowed human contact with his or her loved ones before dying. That was it. Same feelings, different context.

What does your heart say? Before your brain jumps in, when you hear that someone is going to die and is not allowed to say goodbye in person, what is your knee jerk reaction?

It should be the same for everyone.

We all started out the same way and we're all headed out the same way. And a lot of things happen to us in between. But we should ALWAYS strive to be better human beings and to show each other -- even the worst of us -- compassion.

Of course it's horrible that victims and their families don't have futures together and don't get to say goodbye. But that shouldn't cause us to stoop to the same level as those who prevent that from happening.

Think with your heart.

It's the better part of you.

No comments: