Monday, August 11, 2008

Looks like someone's not clear on the concept...

Via the Nashville Tennessean comes the news that the killer of Grand Ole Opry star David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife was denied parole. From the story:

The man who shot and killed a Hee Haw star and his wife 34 years ago will remain in prison, after the parole board denied his third attempt at freedom.

John A. Brown got as close to release as he's ever been in July, when two members of the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole acknowledged his rehabilitation and granted him votes in favor of parole. A half-dozen family members and friends were there to speak of Brown's commitment to the Lord and bettering himself. But once word of the hearing got out to friends and fans of Dave "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife, Estelle, the tide turned.


On Nov. 10, 1973, Stringbean and Estelle Akeman were performing at the Grand Ole Opry while John Brown and his cousin, Doug Marvin Brown, were ransacking the Akemans' farmhouse near Ridgetop. When the Akemans returned home, Stringbean got into a gunfight with John Brown and was shot. His wife tried to run away, but she was chased down and shot at close range.

Ramona and Grandpa Jones discovered the bodies the next morning, when Grandpa Jones went to pick up Stringbean for a hunting trip. Stringbean was known to carry a lot of cash on him, and the Brown cousins had been looking for it in the home. They never found the bounty. But almost 25 years later, $20,000 of moth-bitten and useless money was found in the Akeman fireplace.

"I truly feel that he is extremely repentant of his sins, what he did," said Pat Dittes, a nurse who treated Brown six years ago. "It saddens me that we can all preach forgiveness, yet we can't forgive."

That last thing really jumped out at me. Personally I found it a bit offensive. John Brown didn't do anything to this nurse -- what the hell does she have to forgive him for? I read that and was reminded of something Dennis Prager wrote a few years ago:
"These days one often hears that 'It is the Christian's duty to forgive, just as Jesus forgave those who crucified him.' Of course, Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified him. But Jesus never asked God to forgive those who had crucified thousands of other innocent people. Presumably he recognized that no one has the moral right to forgive evil done to others.
"You and I have no right, religiously or morally, to forgive Timothy McVeigh or Michael Carneal; only those they sinned against have that right, If we are automatically forgiven no matter what we do, why repent? In fact, if we forgive everybody for all the evil they do, God and his forgiveness are unnecessary. We have substituted ourselves for God."
I know there are those who might not agree with that, but it makes sense to me. And considering just exactly what Brown did, I can't help but think he's forever forfeited his right to walk among free men. (But once again, it should be noted, the folks at the Organization Formerly Known As Handgun Control presumably have no problem whatsoever with letting him walk free as long as he can't legally acquire another firearm. No matter that he'd be able to get it through other means.) I'd say this isn't about forgiveness. It's about keeping a brutal, sociopathic killer behind bars where he'll never be able to terrorize good people again, "rehabilitation" be damned.