The Apache Pow Wow

Should the Parkland Shooter Be Forgiven?

Anabell Xu, Staff Writer

The school shooting that took place at Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 sent shockwaves throughout the nation, sending a chilling message to millions of students across the country: this could be you. While news outlets focused on the events surrounding the tragedy, the people affected face a much more personal struggle: the question of forgiveness. I interviewed AHS students, asking them if they believed that people who commit atrocities, like the Stoneman Douglas shooting, should be forgiven.

Answers were mixed, to say the least. All the people I interviewed agreed that forgiveness would be immeasurably hard to do, especially when considering crimes of a certain caliber like mass murders. However, whether or not they would personally forgive was a different question.

Freshman Evelyn Lo took issue with the sheer immorality of the crime and stated that “it doesn’t matter whether they had a bad childhood or were bullied; most people who go through these experiences don’t go around shooting schools. He tore 17 kids from their families—that’s 17 too many!”

Sophomore Andre Yeung, however, took issue with how the justice system would treat criminals, specifically arguing against the death penalty. He stated that “taking a life to justify or [correct] the wrongs of that life is counterintuitive… Maybe rehabilitation as a form of recourse would be the better alternative.”

Another question is how forgiveness would affect people. Freshman Coral Cheng stated that we need to look at “the age, the person’s state of mind, and other things. If it’s a child, it will be easier to forgive them than someone who is an 18-year-old… I think it also depends on what you mean by forgiving. If forgiving him just means that I morally forgive him and it has no effect on anyone, that’s fine. But if me forgiving him impacts a lot of people, then there’s a difference.”

Juniors Charlene Huang and Matthew Huang, remained rather neutral, believing that the immorality of the crimes committed was simply unforgivable, but also brought up the problems that not forgiving would bring to those around the shooter. Charlene stated that “there’s been 18 school shootings in 2018, which resulted in many casualties, [and] we’re not even talking about the emotional trauma…That’s pretty unforgivable. But on the other hand, think of all the unwanted attention from the media to the shooter’s family. Are you going to burden them for the rest of their lives? How much will their parents or friends be affected?” Matthew also stated that “I guess forgiveness is nearly impossible if the perpetrator never shows any signs of remorse. In general, I guess forgiveness might give some sort of mental peace, and forgiveness is beneficial to the victims’ families in terms of moving on. But it is an unimaginably hard task to do, and lack of forgiveness shouldn’t be held as a fault to the party that has suffered at the hands of the perpetrator.”

Sophomore Caroline Wong stated that “I think [forgiveness] depends on the person themselves. If later in their lives, they regret what they did and do anything they can do to compensate the families affected, then they should be forgiven. But if they don’t feel any remorse at all, then it’s up to the families who were affected. Personally, since I am a Christian, I would forgive them. It might take my whole life, but I would forgive them eventually.”

In the end, opinions differ wildly on the question of forgiveness. There is no correct answer to such a morally-gray question, and in the end it is up to the victims to decide. However, no matter people’s choice, we can all agree that situations where we have to ask questions like these should never occur.

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Should the Parkland Shooter Be Forgiven?