Saturday, March 7, 2015

Holding onto Anger

I recently had a discussion with a relative about holding onto anger. I know everyone says that's a bad idea, it's harmful to my own psyche, it lets the other person win, and all that jazz. And with the class I'm taking, a semester learning about the Holocaust, I am torn. I'm learning in detail what hate, blind hate that ignores ethics and morals, can do to people. It reminds me of a line from Theoden in "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. When the people of Rohan are losing the battle against the Orcs and the Uruk-hai, Theoden asks, "So much death, what can men do against such reckless hate?" And there is no easy answer. Though I never want to feel the kind of anger that would push me to take a life or stand aside and let it happen, there are times I don't want to let go of my anger. There are individuals who've made me so angry or taken something so important that I don't feel that forgiving them is the right thing to do. Is this childish? Selfish? I'm not sure and frankly, I don't think I care. I will say that it has to be something EXTREME for me to be willing to continue to be angry or even hate a person. I don't wish to hold onto negativity for something simple.

Five years ago something happened that I can never forgive and forget. I will NEVER stop being angry about it. In the early morning hours of 2 Jan 2010, my oldest niece (who would've been 24 that April) was driving home from visiting a friend. Her car ran out of gas on the Dallas North Tollway, a freeway with no shoulder. In the minutes it took her to text someone for a ride a drunk driver, one Khary McWilliams, slammed into her car, killing her instantly though we wouldn't know for certain until they got her body temperature up to check for brain activity. That is enough to make anyone furious but that isn't even the end of it. Two years later, it was decided by the courts that the man who did this, the man who drank well beyond his limit and got behind the wheel of his car, the man who took my niece's life was given probation as his punishment for taking a life. His attorney said this about putting McWilliams in prison, "with all due respect to the Richardson family, sending Khary to the penitentiary is not going to bring their daughter back. … At some point he's going to get out and is he going to be a different man than he is today? I submit to the court the answer to that is yes. I don't have to educate the court on how hard being in prison would be on someone like Khary McWilliams." Is that not the point of prison? To be hard on someone who committed a crime, who took someone's life, so they don't do it again? Why be soft on the criminal when the victim got no such consideration? And at the time of sentencing, the criminal admitted "to having driven after drinking on other occasions. He also admitted to having drank alcohol in the time since the accident." Unfortunately, it'll take the death of another innocent motorist before my niece receives any justice.

So hell yes I'm still angry. I want to be angry. Someone has to be angry for the sake of potential victims. He's living his life, celebrating holidays, and being with his family. My niece will never have that chance and our holidays are all bittersweet. I'm willing to say I HATE the man. Always will. I know it won't bring my niece back but neither will forgiving the killer of his crime. He doesn't deserve it. He'll never earn it. Nothing he can do will change the fact that he killed her and got away with it.