Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I really didn't want to write about Harry Mitts again.  

I thought I'd said all I had to say when I posted last night.

Mitts murdered John Bryant and Police Sergeant Dennis Glivar, shot and injured but didn't kill a couple of other cops.  Glivar's mother and sister forgave him quickly, shortly after the killings.  They said god wanted them to.  And they let him know.  Still they wanted him to die, said god wanted that, too.  And they planned to watch. Mitts himself was eager to be killed so he could get going toward what he believed would be his eternal reward with god since he repented and all.

Really, I figured I was done.

Then I read what Debbie Glivar, Sergeant Glivar's wife, said this morning.  She was there, at Lucasville, in the death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, to witness Mitts being killed.  She wept, the AP reports, as he said his last words.  He asked forgiveness.  And he offered an apology.
"I had no business doing what I did,” he said.
But then, afterwards, stepping up to the microphones, she declared her commitment.
I won’t forgive him, ever.
Which is, of course, understandable.  Nineteen years ago, in an act of surpassing horror, Harry Mitts took from her what can never be returned and for which there can be no adequate compensation, the person we can safely assume to have been the love of her life.  Why should she forgive?  Why shouldn't she wallow in that hatred?  Which of us can fairly say with certainty that we would not.  I can't.

Nor could John Bryant's sister, Johnnal, though she thought maybe, some day.
“No, I don’t forgive him,” she said as she fought back tears. “Maybe one day I will, but right now I don’t.”
And yet, and here's the thing, the lesson we learn from those who manage, truly, to do the unthinkable, to fully forgive.  Sometimes even to embrace the ones who ripped apart their lives.

When they give up the hatred, when they give up the anger, that's when it stops being about the killer.  That's when they can fully open themselves up to the love that they had.  That's when they are able to achieve . . . not closure.  There's never closure.  But peace.  That's when they can move on and resume their own lives.

It's their voices I celebrate and honor in these posts because they're the engines of the grace and mercy I keep writing about.  Our "better angels" in Lincoln's words.

For them, in a way, we should rejoice.  For those who wallow in the hatred and anger, who insist upon it, for them we might well mourn.  Not mourn with them, for them.

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