Weighing Bad with Good. How can it be defined?

Hypothetical Setting:

A teenage boy grows up in a rough part of town. Drugs, gang wars, guns, they’re all part of daily life as he knows it.

One day his bros decide to rob a corner store and flash a few guns to scare the old couple that own it, you know, just for kicks. (I know in reality this probably wouldn’t happen unless these kids are super high, but bear with me). But the robbery goes wrong and the 18 year old boy shoots and kills the old man who owns the store.

The boy is utterly remorseful. But he doesn’t want to go to jail.

Instead, he somehow turns his life around and becomes a very monetarily successful member of society. Along the way he tries to give back to the community to make up for killing the old man. Because of his troubling past he decides he doesn’t want others to have to commit the crime or similar activities he did. Because of this he injects enormous sums into programs to teach and give opportunities to teens to do something good instead of something stupid. He is also personally involved in trying to make other people’s lives better – he serves food at soup kitchens, coaches a local youth soccer team, and visits with the lonely in retirement homes.

One day his crime and the police catch up to him.

Should this man go to jail? 

He did one absolutely terrible thing in his youth and spent the rest of his life trying to be good and deliver good. 

He is now a pillar of the community. 

Sentencing him to prison now can potentially cause defaulting effects on the community.

But he did kill an old innocent man. 

Who are we to judge? How can we weigh the good and the bad? Can we?

Does one event define who we are? Does doing something bad mean we’re bad?

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One Response to Weighing Bad with Good. How can it be defined?

  1. An interesting scenario. Bound legally to serve time and yet freed morally, perhaps, by his acts. I do not think that one event can define us in the sense that it can label us, but I do believe that the act defined this man in the sense that each of his subsequent acts stemmed from it. An interesting way to look at this is to think that if he had never been a part of murdering an innocent man, none of those who received his aid would have received it at all. So does that make the murdered man just an unpleasant cracked egg in the production of a lovely omelette? I am not sure. I think the laws, though, would see him behind bars.

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