Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I don't care to hang a boy for being frightened, either. What good would it do him?

So... today the verdict for Bradley Manning... 35 years in prison. 

He'll receive a credit of 1293 days for the time he has been confined and an additional 112 days of credit for the abusive treatment he was subjected to in the marine base brig.

I read this on NPR...

During a press conference, Manning's civilian attorney David Coombs said they will appeal the judge's sentence and also seek a presidential pardon for Manning.

"Pfc. Manning was one of the brave Americans who was not willing to remain silent," Coombs said. "Instead he decided to provide us with information that he believed would spark reform, would spark debate and he provided us with information that he believed might change the world."

I was thinking about Bradley Manning and wondering... could I be as brave? Could I face the consequences he now faces to bring to light acts of torture and abuse and inhumanity? Do I have that kind of moral courage to change the world?

How many of us, in much smaller situations, keep our heads down... keep quiet... keep going along with...

Have you ever been inspired to stick your neck out... to blow the whistle on being deceived?

If you have, it was probably difficult and uncomfortable. It probably cost you some social standing, some security... some anonymity.

But ... oh, the freedom. The faith restored in what is of value.

I could not get through this afternoon without Abraham Lincoln whispering in my ear. 

One known quote that I try to remember when chants of "kill the messenger" are at hand:

Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? I think in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal, a great mercy.
Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865
16th President of the United States (Republican, IL)
Answering critics of his incarceration and banishment of Clement L. Vallandigham, a public critic of Lincoln and the war
Remark, May 1863

And one movie scene from the film, Lincoln: 

Lincoln walks around the White House, then sits in his office contemplating Grant's letter, later he goes to Nicolay and Hay's bedroom and sits at the foot of Hay's bed as they are both asleep, reading a petition]
Abraham Lincoln: Now, here's a sixteen year old boy. They're gonna hang him...
[Hay startles awake, looking at Lincoln as he carries on reading from the petition]Lincoln Quotes
Abraham Lincoln: He was with the 15th Indiana Calvary near Beaufort, seems he lamed his horse to avoid battle. I don't think even Stanton would complain if I pardoned him? You think Stanton would complain?
[Nicolay awakes in the next bed and looks at them]
John Hay: I don't know, sir. I don't know who you're, uh... What time is it?
Abraham Lincoln: It's three forty in the morning.
[to Hay]
John Nicolay: Don't let him pardon any more deserters.
[Nicolay sinks back down to his bed]
John Hay: Mr. Stanton thinks you pardon too many. He's generally apoplectic on the subject...
Abraham Lincoln: He oughtn't to have done that, crippled his horse, that was cruel, but you don't just hang a sixteen year old boy for that...
John Hay: Ask the horse what he thinks.
Abraham Lincoln: ...for cruelty. There'd be no sixteen year old boys left.
[Lincoln pauses as he thinks for a moment]
Abraham Lincoln: Grant wants me to bring the secesh delegates to Washington.
John Hay: So there are secesh delegates?
Abraham Lincoln: He was afraid, that's all it was. I don't care to hang a boy for being frightened, either. What good would it do him?
[Lincoln signs the petition to pardon the boy, then he gives Hay's leg a few hard hits and a squeeze, Hay chuckles]
Abraham Lincoln: War's nearly done. Ain't that so? What use one more corpse? Any more corpses?
[he puts the rest of the petitions on Hay's bed and stands to leave]
John Hay: Do you need company?
Abraham Lincoln: In times like this, I'm best alone.
[Lincoln carries on walking around the White House hallway alone]

Justice... It's a lot to think about. Often, we look for the light and only find more shades of gray.

UpdateBradley Manning's statement after being sentenced today.

1 comment:

  1. That's what troubles me so----shades of gray :-(