We can’t possibly know what it’s like to lose a loved one in a tragic, violent way unless we’ve walked in a survivor’s shoes. Would we seek revenge as much as justice? Is the horrifically unforgettable also forgivable? We can’t know, and we can’t judge.
But we can salute Bruce Murakami for the compassion he showed in asking a judge for leniency in the case of the young man convicted of the manslaughter deaths of his wife and daughter. Murakami’s family was snuffed out in a fiery accident caused by a 19-year-old drag racer.
The judge heeded Murakami’s plea for mercy and gave Justin Cabezas house arrest and probation instead of jailing him for up to 30 years. In addition, both Murakami and Cabezas, now 23, will be part of a community-service dialogue with teenagers on the consequences of drag racing.
Moreover, another life wasn’t claimed by the tragic accident. Murakami says Cabezas now has the opportunity to make something of himself. If he, indeed, does, that will be the legacy of uncommon compassion shown under the most trying and tragic of circumstances.