Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Murder, Responsibility, Remorse

We killers tend not to talk about the effect of our crimes on ourselves. It is a private as well as a public tragedy and rarely for public display, and risks appearing self-indulgent. There are few of us who intended to kill, and even fewer who defend what they did. We can explain, but cannot excuse.

It is a perpetual burden, feeling one step away from the human community. It is a sore that cannot be healed and a wrong that cannot be righted. As only the victim can forgive, then there can never be any solace in absolution.

Each of us deals with it in a different way. Some sink into self loathing. Some kill themselves. Some spend the rest of their lives trying to hold together a fractured psyche. And some try to fill the void with external distractions, drink, drugs.

I was repelled by that part of myself and spent years trying to explore my psyche and repair it, and I outwardly challenge analogous behaviours - abuses of power. Non-violence is now a lodestone.

And yet, despite our crimes, even the most depraved of us still feels human - and maintain all human sensibilities.


  1. It is a failing of humanity that we err. It is a mark of civilisation that we can forgive

  2. I think Ben has taken on board the generalised guilt that comes from hours of contacts (I hate to count them) with probation officers and other professionals. Everybody is sent to prison with a story, usually based on the judge's comments at sentencing, and the story becomes a substitute for facts. True and honest appraisal of the prisoner and his misdeed, combined with a restorative rather than a retributive approach, would make longterm imprisonment a quite different experience. There is no sense in maiming the mind except, maybe, that it creates another problem for professionals to work on.

  3. Although it is highly admirable to orientate on non violence and something that we should all try to achieve for the majority of our lives, I wonder how realistic complete non violence is as solution to your feelings about killing your friend all those years ago.

    We are all fallible; that is what makes us human. I am not about to advocate violence, but just to recognise that it is innate in our nature.

    Men will more often become violent in rivalry situations and women can be fiercely violent in situations where protection is an issue.

    Of course these are generalities and there are always exceptions.

    It is a necessary thing in life to understand ourselves and not be ashamed of who we are, no matter what happens or has happened.

    I am sure your friend wouldn't want you to be agonizing so much; it is done, he is at peace and God is forgiving.

    The answer lies not in an eternal pact of non-violence to somehow counter the violent act, the answer is love.

    Unconditional love, for you to give and receive, for you to teach and follow.

    As for the violent side of us, that which is in us all; teach it to fight for peace, justice and eternal love.

    Chin up Ben, you're alright. xxx

  4. Dear Ben

    There IS someone who can forgive you beside your victim - Jesus Christ. And He has already paid the price for your sins and mine, when He gave His life in order for us to be free from guilt and shame. All He asks is that we accept what He has done for us, believe in Him and trust Him to work in us. We can never earn this grace, it's a free gift. He is also the source of unconditional love which we all crave.

    I'm sure you have heard this before and I pray that one day you will find you are able to believe it. I have read about your disappointing experiences of Chaplains, but Christians can only be poor reflections or imitations of Christ. The best thing to do is read the Gospels with an open mind and find Him for yourself. I found 3 years ago that Jesus isn't who I'd thought He was for many years, but He is so much more. Blessings.

  5. The trouble is, Ben, you killed the wrong type, you killed a friend; someone like yourself.

    If you kill your husband, it's manslaughter, and a pardon.

    If you kill your unborn child, it's your body, and your right; with a complimentary 'Women's Studies' certificate of excellence in the field of empowerment, thrown in.

    If you kill an enemy, you get a medal.

  6. Listen Jimmy, each act of violence should be judged according to individual circumstances and the details surrounding each individual case.

    Your consistent misogyny in any and every debate on here is tiring to say the least.

  7. I know the vegetarian/non-violent reaction to one's being accused of doing something unthinkably violent. It can lead to problems with people outside, who are far from being non-violent, and may take a passive or accommodating response for weakness. Being suddenly pushed up against a wall, so to speak, by such a person may lead to the same kind of violence that originally put the ex-prisoner inside. Of course society works a multiple standard with regard to violence generally, in light of which a violent offender may appear himself as a victim or a scapegoat.