Let me begin by saying that I’m against the death penalty. I don’t believe that the state has the right to take someone’s life. It’s also not a foolproof method. Time and time again, we have executed innocent people. If you don’t believe me, try picking up a copy of Deadline some time. It’s frightening how many people have sat on death row and are completely innocent.
Last Sunday morning at around 4:30 AM 23-year-old man driving at 100 mph hit a woman crossing the street so hard she was dismembered. As her friend stood there in hysterics the driver then spun around, hit another car, and then left the scene of the accident by foot. The car was left running and a bottle of liquor laid on the floor. Yesterday, when I first heard about the accident, they were still in search of the other people in the car. They come forward as witnesses.
Immediately, I wanted to hate this guy. I hate him because I have seen hundreds of idiotic men drive their cars as if they’re on a racetrack with little to no care of anyone else around. I hate him because he should never have gotten into the car drunk. I hate him for leaving. I hate him for being a coward. I hate him for being a 23-year-old pussy. I hate him for being a liar. I hate him for killing the woman and not having the decency to stop.
Many, many years ago, I had read about a man who had been drinking and then hopped on his motorcycle. (Forgive me; the details are foggy as it’s been a long time since I read about it. But I still know exactly how it ended.) He hit a little boy. The man got off the bike, took the dead boy in his arms and began to sob. A moment later, the gun was out and a self-inflicted bullet was being pumped into the man’s head. The headline read:
JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER.
That story has haunted me for years. To think that someone is capable of making such a definitive decision in such a small amount of time, knowing that he or she could not live with the guilt that lies ahead of him or her, is astounding. I was never quite sure how to feel about it. The boy he had hit was dead and the man had made a horrible mistake. But whatever his reasoning may have been, in that little bit of time, he had decided that life compared to death for him seemed worse.
I found I identified with the man. I remember thinking that
– had I been in his shoes and had I had the strength to do so – I probably would have made the same choice. No one would ever really forgive you for something like this, right? Even you can’t forgive yourself for something like that, right?
Even during acts of cowardice, we are able to decide something definitive and real. And while I don’t believe that suicide is the answer, he took any future role from criminal justice system, its lawyers and those who would have wished to see him dead. And I found it disconcerting that had the motorcycle man not killed himself, I probably would have judged him immediately for what he had done. (Just like the hit and run driver from this weekend) Instead, because he took his own life based on his mistake, I ended up feeling a bit of compassion for him. I’m assuming I’m not alone.
Marlen Mustasaev left. He didn’t even have the balls to stop and face up to what he had done. Instead, he went to the police and told them his car had been stolen. It’s really, really hard to feel even remotely sorry for this individual. I don’t care how drunk he may have been or how much he regrets it. He did solve one problem for himself; since so much time lapsed they are unable to charge him for manslaughter, as his blood alcohol level was unable to be tested.
While I do not think that the state should have a role in putting him to death (not that they could anyway in this case) I do feel he should be charged with a whole lot more than leaving the scene of an accident. And I do hope that he feels an equal amount of guilt and pain as the man from years before had right before he pulled the trigger. And should the victim’s uncles, brothers, grandfathers, friends, or sisters get a hold of him, and then so be it. Let nature take its course.
The whole ordeal, coupled with the lingering story of the man on the motorcycle, leaves me wondering: Do we deserve second chances? Beyond that of a judcial system but in the eyes of the public, is it possible to forgive someone for something like this? Had Marlen Mustasaev stopped, would people think differently of him now?
P.S. Also, please forgive me for linking to both trash rags in this post. What has become of me?