Sep 15, 2011

There are a lot of people who like to proselytize about what they would do if they were in a situation like James Craig Anderson's family found themselves in.  James was a victim of an alleged hate crime when a mob of white teens, who had never met or seen him before, beat him to death in a Mississippi parking lot.  Instead of his family seeking vengeance for his death, they chose to follow a different path and asked the prosecutor in a letter not to seek the death penalty in the case.
Here is some of what the letter said:
"We ask that you not seek the death penalty for anyone involved in James' murder," the letter states; the letter is signed by Barbara Anderson Young, James Craig Anderson's sister who is in charge of, and speaks for, his estate.

The letter states that the family is opposed to the death penalty partly for religious convictions.

"Our opposition to the death penalty is deeply rooted in our religious faith, a faith that was central in James' life as well," the letter states. But the family goes on to explain that there is another reason for their opposition, one that is tied to Mississippi's racial past.

"We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites," the letter states. "Executing James' killers will not help to balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment."

The family has been mostly private in its grief, but the letter sent to the DA's office alludes to what the family is going through.

"Those responsible for James' death not only ended the life of a talented and wonderful man. They also caused our family unspeakable pain and grief. But our loss will not be lessened by the state taking the life of another," it says.

I don't know a lot of people who could display this same type of grace and mercy in air of the circumstances surrounding the death of their love one.  James Craig Anderson's family should definitely serve as an example both.


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