I find Newsweek’s My Turn column to be hit-and-miss. The weekly one-pager gives ordinary joes a chance to offer up their two-cents on pet topics ranging from the fascinating (overworked EMS employees) to the mundane (how to raise my son in a post-911 world order – yawn!). I think an all time low – and therefore one of my favorites – came from the psychic, Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, who claimed all she wanted was to be anonymous, then used the column to publicize her new book!
This week’s submission entitled Why Revenge Isn’t The Right Answer by Los Angeles cop, Sunil Dutta is not to be missed. As a boy growing up in India, Dutta witnessed attrocities in the aftermath of the 1947 division of India and Pakistan. In the piece he gives an informed lesson on the futility of vengeance and retribution. The climax of the article comes in Dutta’s meeting with a granduncle who remained unrepentant of the slaughter of Pakistani Muslims. My favorite section:
For a long time after our meeting, I thought about how easily victims of crime can lose their moral bearings and turn into criminals themselves. As a police officer, I know how often we focus on punishing the guilty while leaving the victims to suffer alone with no support. Perhaps that is one reason the cycle of violence continues.
Fine words. I wish I had said them. Dutta ends by saying, “Only forgiveness and compassion can put an end to violence.”
Let’s leave it at that.