Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mark Berndt & a meditation on forgiveness

Forgiveness, as a concept, is one of the most beautiful evolutionary steps humanity has taken. I get choked up when I see stories of a woman truly forgiving her son's killer. When lovers can forgive the sins of their partners, when estranged friends can put the past behind them, when a reformed racist can be forgiven by those he/she has wronged...it all just does something to me. I weep openly and fully when I see instances of exceptional forgiveness.

And then, there are news stories like this one out of LA. (A warning: this story is exceptionally graphic. Seriously, I physically threw up after reading it.)




Mark Berndt is being held on a $23 million dollar bail for 23 counts, at this point ($1 million for every count, and there are at least 10 more pending), of possibly the most disturbing acts I have ever heard of perpetuated on children. He bound them, blindfolded them, gagged them, fed them his semen (which he did when they were blindfolded, feeding them with a spoon and calling it a tasting game), put cockroaches on them, and photographed everything.

Berndt has had over 30 years of teaching experience. 30 years to, possibly, victimize countless children in this manner. He was caught when he attempted to have some of his nearly 400 photographs processed, and 40 of them were found by a film processor and reported to police. (THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE!) 390 photographs were found in his home like these, and the aforementioned spoon was also found with DNA matching Berndt.

He is facing multiple life sentences.

His victims are all between the ages of 7 and 10.

I would now like to apologize to you, the reader, because I am about to become quite crude. This disgusting piece of shit should roast in the pits of Hell for all eternity. I do not advocate violence, but this is a case where I'm not sure I'd care if they chose the death penalty.

And see, here is my conundrum. When I hear egregious stories like this, where someone's crimes are so extreme and so severe (and especially involving children), I cannot fathom forgiveness. I cannot fathom not only the ability for any of the parents or victims to forgive this guy, but I cannot fathom how deity could possibly forgive such a man. Crimes against the innocent, the defenseless, out of coldness and disease...I just don't understand that level of forgiveness. Because, I want to rage against this man. I want to hate him, and I want to say things like "I hope he burns in Hell" and I want to mean it.

But...at the same time...I'm sitting here crying, because I'm so conflicted. Because of the one simple question, "Doesn't everyone deserve forgiveness?" Shouldn't everyone have that opportunity?

I don't know... I'm not sure that one could atone for this much horror in one lifetime, however. So, I suppose it's times like this when I hope for reincarnation, when I hope that it exists and that someone like this has a few more lifetimes to make it right.

What do you think, Rioters? What do you think of forgiveness and/or this story?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

7 comments:

  1. Like you, I am conflicted. I don't like the death penalty, even as a last resort..I wish I could forgive everyone unconditionally, but I can't. That thing inside me that judgmentally says that there are those who are so warped, so damaged that they cannot possibly be of any reasonable use or service to the human race in the future is pretty strong.Jeffery Dalmer triggered that in me, and frankly, this guy is doing the same, because I suspect he was one step away from being another Dalmer one day. My solution is to allow the system to send him to jail, place him in the general population, then have the authorities turn their backs on him...the gods have mercy on his soul, and mine for saying this, but it's how I feel.

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  2. NOT conflicted. At all. No, he does not deserve forgiveness. Not everyone does despite what we want to believe in. Further, I could think of some nice things to do to this guy. And hopefully someone will take care of those during his new life in prison. I suppose I see some things as too cut and dry but you know, in humanity there are just things that are "deal breakers" to me and well, he did about 99% of them.

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  3. I must not be that evolved because I cannot begin to think about the remotest possibility of forgiving this person! In fact. . . I have an iron wand just for these types of things!

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  4. Not conflicted. Some members of the pack just need to be put down. Forgiveness and redemption are very powerful concepts. I am glad to have been forgiven by people, and with that forgiveness I work to change. But I think like a PP said above, sometimes what people do is so horrific, and they are so damaged, what good are they to society? It's definitely a slippery slope, but I think in a less complicated society (say, back in the more tribal/clannish days) this man, for similar crimes, would have been killed. And the tribe wouldn't have thought twice.

    It's not an easy subject. But something this horrific? To children? No. No fogiveness.

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  5. I'm not conflicted either. In theory I have always thought - in the big picture sense - that everyone deserves forgiveness. Yet I believe that forgiving this walking piece of dog shit is something beyond me. He deserves extreme punishment for the crimes he has committed. Forgiveness may come to him eons from now - by the gods, but it won't come from me in this time. The violence and horror committed by this man strips our humanity and calls out for vengence. At some other time these children, their parents and others involved may find a need to release the constant re-feeling of this horrible abuse in order to heal....but for now I agee with AmethJera -- let him suffer in the general pop. in prison.

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  6. No conflict here. He is a slimy piece of shit and I hope he is never forgiven.
    I can't help but think of something one of my high school teachers said. "people who hurt children deserve to have they genitals cut off and placed on an iceberg between a mother polar bear and her cub."

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  7. There are always cases like these where I would like a death sentence. Yet the reasons why I don't believe in death and torture - even when they're fully deserved - are still there. It's not a slippery slope, it's a dead-end. Give the authorities the right to kill, and it won't end good. Give them the right to torture, and it won't end good. Just send the man to jail for the rest of his life, and a few bears will make sure he won't be able to sit of walk for a long time.

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