Can you have a future if you can’t escape the past?

Two recent articles had me thinking about the possibility of tshuvah today.  The first was an article that appeared in Salon over a tiny brou-ha-ha that was engendered when someone caught sight of a box of milkbones in a picture that Michael Vick tweeted out early this month. Vick, as you may recall, served 2 years in prison for his involvement in dogfighting. The response to the news getting out about this tweet was nearly universal -that it was appalling that anyone had allowed this man to have a dog in his home. After about a week, he issued the following statement, “I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet. As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.” What do you  think? Is that enough?

The second article was  – well, it wasn’t just one article, but let’s go with this version of the story of Amanda Todd. Todd was the girl who committed suicide after being stalked by an adult who convinced her to flash her breasts to the camera, then used the picture to blackmail her into further exposures, then posted her pictures for others;  who was bullied in school by students who found the pictures, and who followed her from school to school, city to city, followed by other children determined to harm her, by adults who felt that their sexual pleasure was more important than the girl’s right to grow up unmolested… and by the internet, which made it all too easy for those who tormented her to hound her beyond despair.

On the face of it, there isn’t too much similarity between these two cases. The first is an adult who made choices to harm animals, who broke the law for his own amusement, and who then paid a price for it. About him, we ask whether he should ever be able to own a dog again. Does he deserve to ever own another pet? The second is a girl who only the sickest would call anything but a victim.

Posted on October 24, 2012

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