So I received about the amount of negative feedback as I had expected in Part one of my blog about Ray Jasper. For the most part, I feel the people who spewed their venom my way only read what they wanted my blog to mean for them. One of the themes I saw was people's perception of the word forgiveness and yet the meaning is totally different to us all. Some forgive because it releases themselves from the impact. Some refuse to forgive. Some think forgiveness is earned and some feel that it is given. That seems to be the common denominator as I see it. Again, I don't need the support or the negative feedback from an audience to make me feel better about writing to Ray Jasper.
So let’s get back to why I wrote Ray Jasper.
When I read Jasper’s lengthy response letter to Gawker, I was floored. Perhaps I had an expectation that Death Row inmates were simply people who had numbed themselves in preparation for death, and they just lived their remaining days waiting to die. Maybe I looked at them with contempt for being the utter shame of humanity.
However, I know that each of us has a unique story that resides in each and every one of us of who we are. Some of us had better tools and conditions to deal with the events in our lives and some didn’t. I truly believe that our environment creates the monster in each of us. If you live in a hostile world, you will view the world as hostile. If you live in a safe environment, you will see the world as wonderful and safe. For whatever reasons, known only to few, Ray Jasper did not have the tools to deal with the events in his life and he reverted to the poor choices that landed him in jail, and cost a man his life. In that sense, society failed him. It takes a community to raise a child, and Ray Jasper’s community looks a lot different than mine. It doesn’t justify or allow any of his behaviour traits to be condoned, it simply shows them, and allows us to see why it happened.
And who knows why it happened… I really believe that everything in life happens for a reason and a purpose. I acknowledge that I am short sighted in this grandiose vision, so I have to accept the fact that I don’t know it all, and take the rest on having faith that there is something bigger up there that knows what’s for the good of the whole.
So back to my point…
The way I see it, Ray Jasper has a daughter in high school. She is now the daughter of an executed murderer and now has to go through life with that distinction. As if life wasn’t tough enough for teenagers, her life just got a little more difficult. I mentioned earlier that it takes a village to raise a child. So I wrote to Ray Jasper to ask if I could help his daughter in some way after he was gone.
Now, I don’t know what that will look like. But I had to imagine that having people reach out in the hope that his daughter deserves a better way of life than the one she was born into, was something I could attempt to take on. It wouldn’t be possible with just me alone, it has to come from people who believe that sometimes it takes a horrific mistake to learn from and the strength of great leadership knows that the emotions of humility, acceptance, Love, and forgiveness are the pillars of re-building and starting again. I think she deserves the community to reach out to her and support her in her life, and not judge her for who what her father did.
In Ray Jasper’s reply to me, he gave me permission to reach out to his daughter so that her life might be better for it. Of the hundreds of letters that Ray had, I was one that he replied to. He told me that it was impossible to write back to everyone, yet I was one of the few.
So I have reached out to her. I don’t know what the future will hold from doing this, but I simply could not stand by idle, and not take this action. If you feel like you would want to make a difference in this young woman’s life, then I would hope that you and I could make that difference in showing the world the qualities of forgiveness, acceptance, and Love. Ray Jasper’s life would have looked a world of a difference different with those qualities, and so would the impact of David Alejandro’s. And for the impact of this terrible event, would you help us create a positive from a negative, and show the world that it does take a village of people to raise a child?
If you feel that way, please feel free to tell me about your ideas at: www.chuckbastie.com
So Ray Jasper is now dead, and justice has been served. Every ending creates a new beginning. The end of Ray Jasper’s story is now for us to learn from, and chose our own view from it in the kind of world we wish to live in. I for one choose to live in a world of forgiveness and acceptance; one of empathy and understanding. These words create possibilities and not judgements. I think the world has enough judgement in it, so I choose possibility where nothing is impossible.
For even the word, “Impossible” says, I’m possible…