Death of clerk should not mean the end of paroles, pardons

February 5, 2010
By

The senseless murder of Surendra Dangol, a 39-year-old Nepalese store clerk, in Monument Square in Jamaica Plain (JP Gazette, Jan. 8 and 22) was a tragedy of immeasurable proportions for his family and for the community.

If the suspect in the case, parolee Edward Corliss, is indeed the perpetrator, that, too, is a tragedy. A person who has a second chance and cruelly squanders it shakes to the core our belief in mercy and compassion.

Unfortunately, paroles and pardons do not come with “100-percent-no-repeat-offense” guarantees. Yet, to deny second chances would be a tragedy of immeasurable proportions, too. Many people who have violated the social fabric have learned from their mistakes and have become law-abiding, productive citizens. As a society we have a responsibility to provide people with the tools and opportunities to change and maximize everyone’s potential for doing good. Evidence and compassion, not fear and retribution, must guide our policies and judgments. The death of compassion would be the worst tragedy of all.

Nancy W. Ahmadifar
Mission Hill

The writer is a member of First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist in Monument Square.

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