Thursday, March 09, 2006

Forgiveness, not killing, is an act of strength

Reverend Walter Everett of Lewisburg experienced a life trauma that most of us will never have to face- the violent death of a loved one.

In 1987, Everett's 24-year-old son, Scott, was murdered in a random shooting, and he talked about his experience on February 28 during a public gathering at Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg.

"A son or daughter, you should never have to bury," he said.

Everett, who is a member of the board of directors of Murder Victims Families for Human Rights, found a way not only to forgive his son's killer, Mike Carlucci, but even befriend him. When Carlucci expressed his regret and his wish that he could bring Scott back at his sentencing hearing, Everett said, "I felt the nudge of God."

"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the first step of the healing of the person doing the forgiving."

The event in Harrisburg was co-sponsored by Central Pennsylvanians to Abolish the Death Penalty and A United Methodist Witness in Pennsylvania.

Everett is convinced that the death penalty offers no healing for victims' families.

"People wait and wait and wait for an execution," he said, "and when it happens, they say, 'Why don’t I feel any better?'"


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