Editorial

Courtroom scene shows power of personal forgiveness

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Protests were to be expected after a white cop received a fraction of the possible sentence for shooting and killing a black man in his own apartment.

The judge in the Amber Guyger case was criticized for giving the killer a hug after the sentencing, and the propriety of that action is certainly open to criticism.

But thereís no denying something special happened in the Dallas courtroom.

Botham Jean was enjoying a bowl of ice cream in his own apartment when Guyger walked through the unlocked front door and shot him dead, believing, she said, he was an intruder in her apartment one floor below.

If you havenít seen the video, it shows Jeanís 18-year-old brother, Brandt, telling Guyger Jean would have wanted her to find faith and forgiveness in Christ.

ďI love you as a person. I donít wish anything bad on you,Ē he said to the 31-year-old Guyger, before asking the judge, ďI donít know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug?Ē

Later, at the church where the Jean family gathered to worship and Botham Jean used to lead congregation singing, video of Brandt Jean embracing Guyger in court drew applause and ďamensĒ when showed Wednesday night.

One has to wonder how much the jury, largely women and people of color, may have been influenced by the knowledge that too a lenient sentence was likely to result in rioting.

Or, what if a less sympathetic shooter was involved in a similar killing of someone of another race?

As it turned out, the jury, which could have sentenced Guyger to as little as two years, or have sent her to prison for the 28 years the prosecution wanted, gave her 10 years, with the possibility of parole in five.

For Guyger, accepting and serving her sentence without appeal will be proof she is truly sorry for the pain she has caused.

Jeanís family canít be blamed for feeling the sentence is too light and he did not receive the justice he deserved.

But we hope they can someday find the peace that only forgiveness can provide.

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