A few weeks ago, the Cyprus Computer Society did something good and honest by giving a second chance to my daughter to finish the first round of a competition which she had entered. There was clearly a glitch on the website on the actual day of the first round, and when informed about it, they responded. She subsequently went on to the other rounds, and came in the top 5 of all of Cyprus. This second chance had many other positive ripple effects.
This whole episode led me to question second chances in general. Mae West was clever when she said “All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.” I think in the relationship spectrum, it’s quite common to give another chance, as after all, we are human and should be forgiven.
On the concert platform, one generally only has one chance to get it right – and it could be the make or break of an artist…
But what about in the case of prisoners? I do believe that under certain circumstances, practically all of us are capable of the most heinous crimes. Most criminals are driven due to dreadful circumstances from poor parenting, education, abuse, mental health issues, drug addiction etc. Rehabilitation and reintegration into society is important and civilised. I can already hear the shouts of “But so many go on to reoffend and won’t these second chances lead to more crime?” Prison officials are quick to reply that being unable to find honest employment is known to be one of the main contributing factors leading people released from prison to reoffend. The programmes where offenders and victims meet have yielded encouraging results.
An even greater debate is that of the death sentence, recently again highlighted because of the debacle in Arkansas. In those cases, there is no second chance and before one cries out that there wasn’t a second chance for the victim, (which I totally understand and agree with) what happens in the cases such as Michael Morton, who spent 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife, and who was found not guilty after DNA evidence implicated another man.
I believe we all deserve a second chance – but need to ensure that it is respected and made the most of. As Confucius said “Wisdom, compassion and courage are the three universally recognised moral qualities of men.”
What do you think?