Friday, September 16, 2011

Sep 16, 2011
Murderer's enrollment at Tulane law school stirs debate on redemption

(USA Today) Is enrolling a convicted murderer at Tulane Law law school appalling or enlightening? That's the issue raised in a fascinating article today in The Times-Picayune. Above the Law, a blog that covers legal issues, broke the story and provides more details.  The bottom line is that Bruce Reilly, 38, entered Tulane University law school this year, 18 years after pleading no contest to second-degree murder and robbery. He served 12 years in prison.

The Practical Buddhist Responds:

This is a slam dunk for me, in principle.  The Buddha’s life story includes redemptions of violent criminals. Likewise Jesus and other teachers.  If you have adequate evidence that a human has changed and can now be trusted to provide a service, there is no reason to prevent it.  We’re horrified at murder, which violates most basic Buddhist precepts, but we also have plenty of data to suggest that a murderer can go on to be productive and helpful to society, sometimes, when certain conditions have been met.  I guess if Mr. Reilly had murdered a loved one of mine, I’d struggle with anger and hate and vengeance, but I’d want to achieve peace. Part of that peace might be by letting him pay some of his debt by serving others, even as an attorney.  Of course I don’t know Mr. Reilly’s heart, and have no right to make judgments about his case, but I say redemption is possible.

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