In Tuesday’s edition of The World, reporter K.C. Mehaffey told the heart-wrenching story about the impact on the community of the fatal car accident that claimed the life of Manson High School graduate Jaqueline “Jackie” Campos earlier this summer.
The driver of the car she was riding in, Washington State University criminal justice student Hilario Valdovinos Sanchez, was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide.
It’s a community tragedy.
What struck me about the story was that the community is not only dealing with the deep sense of loss in the death of a promising young woman, but also a sense of compassion and concern for Valdovinos. That this concern is expressed by Campos’s family is telling.
In a broader sense, I wonder how we should hold the tension between our desire to hold people accountable for their actions, on the one hand, and our willingness to forgive, on the other.
In similar situations around the country these days, the focus tends to be on retribution and punishment.
I wonder how many of us have, at one time or another, gotten behind the wheel when we were under the influence or were distracted and potentially could have taken the life of someone else. How many of us would be willing to acknowledge that there, but for the grace of God, go I?
A life has ended all too quickly and a vehicular homicide case will make its way through the courts. Forgiveness won’t be found there.
Forgiveness has been found in the community of Manson, and that’s something.