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Delegating Forgiveness

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Compassion is: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Justice is: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by…the assignment of merited rewards or punishments

Neoneocon on the Scottish judge who authorized compassionate release of the Lockerbie terrorist:

MacAskill’s decision is but another example of the West’s tendency to elevate mercy over justice. The two are both desirable in a system of law, but in many parts of the West and especially Europe, the all-important balance has tilted towards the former over the latter.

From Wikipedia on the Pan Am 103 attack:

Although the passengers would have lost consciousness through lack of oxygen, forensic examiners believe some of them might have regained consciousness as they fell toward oxygen-rich lower altitudes. Forensic pathologist Dr William G. Eckert, director of the Milton Helpern International Center of Forensic Sciences at Wichita State University, who examined the autopsy evidence, told Scottish police he believed the flight crew, some of the flight attendants, and 147 other passengers survived the bomb blast and depressurization of the aircraft, and may have been alive on impact. None of these passengers showed signs of injury from the explosion itself, or from the decompression and disintegration of the aircraft.

Dr Eckert told Scottish police that distinctive marks on Captain MacQuarrie's thumb suggested he had been hanging onto the yoke of the plane as it descended, and may have been alive when the plane crashed. The captain, first officer, flight engineer, a flight attendant, and a number of first-class passengers were found still strapped to their seats inside the nose section when it crashed in a field by a tiny church in the village of Tundergarth. The inquest heard that the flight attendant was alive when found by a farmer's wife, but died before her rescuer could summon help.

A bomb damages the jetliner you’re on. You survive that, regaining consciousness in the air still belted to your seat. Then you hit the ground.

Does a person who caused this, who would have been just as pleased if you would have died instantly, merit a punishment more severe than an ordinary murderer? Revenge and vengeance are considered unenlightened sentiments, beneath an ideal held for modern society:

Justice that is blind to both circumstance and status can have an oppressive effect. It is therefore prudent for a jurist to be both judge and mitigator of circumstance. It is often agreed in modern times that status of the accused should not be considered.

The arbiters of society claim we are to be compassionate, to avoid paying suffering forward. I suggest the individuals who comprise society are more like the Old Testament god, an eye for an eye. What’s fair is following the rules.

The compassionate society is modeled after Christ, Gandhi, and King. We are instructed to yield and to forgive. These men acted directly and personally, inspiring others to also act directly and personally.

Compassionate release must represent at least partial forgiveness. Justice decided the correct punishment was imprisonment until death. To reduce the punishment is to diminish the crime or to absolve the criminal of some responsibility.

Does a court or a judge have the power to forgive on behalf of a victim?