I went for a long walk today. Early on, I realized I was walking past the house of a man who is alleged to have committed troubling crimes. The ugly reality of this situation didn't fit with the gentle beauty of the fall day.
The charges against this man are very bad. He is alleged to have harmed children and at least one woman and I do not excuse him for those things. And while I don't know that asking him to leave the neighbourhood is right, I do think that he should not live across from a school and playground. That puts a burden on that institution and all users of the playground. The seriousness of the situation and the protection of children must not be diminished.
With those things being said, I admit to feeling some compassion for this man. When I walk by his house, I'm aware that a human being lives there. It was a beautiful fall day outside for him too. Did he notice that? Does he like the beauty of the colourful leaves on the ground? He's still a person who sleeps and gets up and eats. Does he engage in any innocent activities that bring him joy?
Given the choice, I doubt that this man would choose for his mind to be one which has led him to his crimes. I don't know if he can change and I don't know how he should be handled. What I do know is that I remember his humanity even as I abhor his crimes.