At a news interview tonight, a reporter told me that police are charging Wes with public drunkenness, reckless endangerment, and something else I don’t remember. The reporter asked me to respond and I want to share:
I think almost dying and getting badly injured is disincentive enough to provide behavioral change. Assuming that he is not totally heartless, I am sure he also feels extremely embarrassed and ashamed to have endangered others. I think our sense of justice in America can sometimes miss the mark. My mother crashed her car last year, no other vehicles involved, in which her car was totaled, and she was almost killed. She got a ticket and had to pay a considerable fine. This sort of event or way of thinking is not uncommon. It’s not the policeman’s fault. It’s our way of thinking as a society that is to blame. That is what I want to change.
The reporter also asked me: Would you have done what you did if you knew that he was drunk?
My answer: Absolutely. I make mistakes all the time. Do you? When I have fallen, physically and metaphorically, people have been there to help me up. I had all the same problems with selfishness, greed, lust, pride, and bad-decision making before this event, and I still have them. When I make my next mistake, when you do, we hope someone is there to pick us up.
I was sad to see in some of the comments on the youtube video that people were viciously ridiculing Wes for what has been said he did. I try to stay away from biblical allusions, as I am rarely confident of God’s meaning, but it seems so appropriate here. In John 8, Jesus was asked what to do about a criminal (there’s more to this story but irrelevant to the present purpose). The law said that the criminal should be stoned. Jesus said, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” Of course we need laws and punishment, but maybe sometimes punishment is more unjust than no punishment.
Even if we did find someone who did not make mistakes, I imagine that person would also be wise enough to understand the beauty and importance of each individual. When we make mistakes, we do not become suddenly worthless. We are beautiful, maturing, and imperfect individuals. Again, please do not judge a person based on one time events. That also applies to me. I am not defined by one act of heroism either.
Besides, what active and adventuresome person has not ridden MARTA and wondered if they were capable of clearing those tracks? I certainly have.
2 housekeeping notes:
- I made a “Subway Incident” page (link above) as a receptacle for all links and things related to what happened on Sunday and the aftermath. I’ll be posting about it less often, the worthy posts might wind up there, and I’ll try to keep that page current with the interviews and stuff that I am doing on-air and not.
- Alicia has decided that if several hundred people are going to be looking at my blog regularly or irregularly, it should be a bit more presentable. She reads my stuff and edits at her leisure. So, if you read something riddled with errors and idiocy, it means it is unadulterated Jer.