Monday, March 28, 2016

Marco Muzzo Sentencing, Drinking and Driving and Forgiveness

Marco Muzzo will be sentenced on March 29, 2016

Few stories in Toronto are as haunting as the horrific tale of Marco Muzzo. He was speeding, ran a stop sign, collided with a mini van, killed 3 young kids, their grandfather, and injured 2 others. Oh, and to add insult to serious injury, Muzzo happened to blow over three times the legal limit on the blood-alcohol test. This is a story of drinking and driving, and the power of forgiveness.

In a day and age when we think the message of drinking and driving has gotten through to the masses of people in today's society, something awful like this happens, and we stop to re-think. Although this is the poster child case for the consequences of drinking and driving, I want to focus my point on what I think could be an altruistic opportunity that sits right in front of us. 

Before I start, I want to mention that I can't even begin to empathize more with Jennifer Neville-Lake, and her husband Edward Lake. Their lives will forever be affected by the decision of Muzzo's poor choice. I can only imagine it's an absolute nightmare to live in each moment knowing that all of your children are no longer with you, and how horrific that would be. So I'm sending out Love and light to them for this experience they are moving through. 

Watching the Lake family give their interview after the trial was challenging, because all I could think is, "what would I do if that happened to me?"

And that's what I want to talk about here. 

Starting with Marco Muzzo, the villain in this case. It's easy to look at a person who is the son of a billionaire, see pictures of him behind the wheel of a Ferrari, see what he's done to the Lake family and hate him. That's the easy part. Yet that's not where my mind and thoughts go. 

I look at Muzzo and have a great deal of empathy for him. I can imagine how some people could read that last line and get really upset too. I can hear them now, "How can you feel sorry for a man who has single handedly destroyed an entire family, and robbed them of their 3 kids and grandfather?!" And to these people I would say this, "I can say that I have empathy for Marco Muzzo because I know that in my own life, I have made really, really poor decisions that could've happened exactly as this. Luckily for me, I just never got caught." In fact, I think we can all admit that statement in some way or another.

I can admit that in my 20's I probably drove drunk. I've fallen asleep at the wheel on long distance drives, or not been aware at the wheel, and avoided serious accidents. I could have easily killed a family like Muzzo did, and paid for it for the rest of my life. Instead, I was fortunate to escape a similar situation.

For those people who drink, you know all too well how alcohol can cause a loss of control of senses, judgment, and your worst nightmare coming true. We've all made some pretty dumb decisions because we were drinking. In fact, if you can say honestly that you haven't done things in your own life and not been caught in the impact of it, you're better than me. So I can say that I'm truly fortunate that I've escaped that experience even though I made similar choices as Muzzo.

Muzzo's letter of apology

So Muzzo now has a life long mission of being attached with the label that he killed a family of young kids and their grandfather. That's a title that never goes away. As far as I can see it, the only workable course of action that Marco Muzzo can take is to dedicate his life to is a platform to raise awareness for the consequences of drinking and drinking. He will be sentenced on March 29, and receive his term. When he is eligible for parole, he could dedicate himself to speaking to kids in schools about his story. One of the only silver linings in this story is that other mothers, fathers and families might not have to go through this experience ever again because of this. 

There is no way to reverse the circumstances in the past. So only by raising awareness to this story can it be prevented in the future. The sentence of Muzzo will not be a deterrent to others who continue to drink and drive. But educating the youth with powerful, courageous stories like this might. Will that atone for Muzzo's decisions? Nope, nothing ever will. Yet at least the Lake family can know that future families and children are spared the same fate. That would at least be a step to ensure these children did not die in vain. 

I don't think for one second that Marco Muzzo woke up that day, and wanted to do what he did. I don't think he thought in his wildest nightmares that it would ever end up like it did. He now wakes up everyday knowing the impact his poor choice cost, and he can never escape it, nor ask for a do-over. He has to live with that choice for the rest of his life as a sort of prison term. he may not be able to forgive himself moving forward, but he must! And we as a society can grant him that forgiveness, and deliver support to him. This isn't condoning what he's done, but it's freeing him and other up so the healing process can begin.

In many ways, he and the Lake family are partners in using their stories as a powerful tool in deterring drinking and driving. If they are able to forgive, starting with Muzzo himself, and by the Lake family forgiving Muzzo, they can start the healing process, and they can use the death of the Lake family children for a greater cause by preventing it from happening in the future.  

Jennifer Neville-Lake said, "Forgiveness is ... not like a piece of clothing you can put on. It's a process." 

The new chapter in their lives starts with the power of forgiveness. I hope both families find that forgiveness, and peace of mind. I hope that drinking and driving has claimed its last victim, and I hope the world sees the power of forgiveness.

Removing society's contempt for Marco Muzzo enables him to move forward and begin his Journey, and how he can move forward to make a difference in other people's lives. So I forgive you Marco Muzzo. I sincerely hope you find that peace of mind. 

Lastly, I hope the Lake family is left with wonderful memories of their children. I hope they find their peace in this challenging experience. I hope they find it in their hearts to start with forgiveness, so that their children might live again, and I wish them all the best rebuilding their lives together.

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