I wonder how soon is too soon for some conversations? A few months ago the jury in the
Steubenville rape case rendered a fair and just guilty verdict. When the fate of the young men involved was made public there was an unwritten rule that you couldn't show any sympathy for them. The acts these kids committed were heinous. God knows they were wrong on every level, yet I’m in a situation where I feel sorry for the rapists involved. I hate what the victim endured. I wouldn't want any of my loved ones to be treated that way. My sympathy isn't quantifiable: I don’t know how bad I feel for these kids. I’m not sad that they are going to prison; I’m sad that the kids who did this didn't have the compassion and emotional intelligence to know right from wrong. I'm sad that those who did know how wrong this was didn't have the courage to stop it. The fact that these were kids is what bothered me most. When adults commit crimes like this we chalk it up to evil and find solace in the fact that they are responsible enough to accept the consequences of their actions. To see these kids fall into the kind of in-group out-group bias that allowed them to look at that child of God as an object instead of a precious being is tragic. I feel sorry for those boys because the moral and ethical foundations that should have been put inside of them didn't make it. I don’t know how much blame goes to the parents and the other adults in their lives, but it would seem that there was a breakdown somewhere. We are complicated beings capable of holding seemingly contradictory views on a wide variety of issues. We paralyze ourselves when we limit this ability. I know these kids were adjudicated guilty, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthy of God’s forgiveness. Remember Jesus didn't die on that cross for the perfect and pure. I’m not saying that anyone has to feel sorry for these kids, but I do. With that said, how do we insure the juvenile corrections system rehabilitates these kids as opposed to just warehousing them? If all we are going to do is try to deter this type of behavior with punishment instead of treating the underlying causes of the behavior; we are doing everyone involved a disservice.