Justice or Mercy?


(A word of explanation:  for the sake of perspective, the photos are of me over the course of the history described below, which came to an end today.  This case has been evolving over my lifetime, the subject being born one year after my father.)

At first I thought this topic would be far off the subject of my 2013 Road Trip.  On second thought, it harks back to 1973 and earlier.  The reason it is so important to me today is that it was part of my growing up years.

Although the events happened in South Boston, a place where I have never been, James “Whitey” Bulger was the topic of my parents’ conversation at various points throughout most of my life.

1956, Bulger in Atlanta Penitentiary

1956, Bulger in Atlanta Penitentiary

My mother succumbed to the deterioration of dementia before Whitey Bulger’s arrest in 2011.  Sadly, or not, that information was lost on her.  But I have not forgotten this criminal who has lived in hiding all these decades, unpunished for his crimes.  If you have the time, or the stomach, you can read a comprehensive recap here.

1959, Bulger in Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

Me, at my Grandmother’s house 25 miles northwest of Boston in 1959, Bulger in Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

Today, after a lengthy judicial process, some measure of justice has been served.  To read more go here, and herehere, and here.  It is inevitable that Bulger will be given a life sentence, which at age 83, seems short considering his crimes.

1962, Bulger in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary

Me in Arlington, MA, 1962, Bulger in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary

And considering his protection by the FBI, and the fact that he began his career of crime at age 14, and served time in both Alcatraz and Leavenworth, and still lived a relatively free life for decades without coming to justice….

1963, Bulger in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary

Me in NH, 1963, Bulger in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary

Reminds me of a conversation on my road trip, in a rural New Hampshire living room, with my former pastor and his wife.  The conversation was about another recent trial where justice may or may not have been served.

One of us said we just want to see justice served, to which the wise pastor quickly replied, “No, we don’t ever want justice.  We want mercy.”  Before God.  Where would I be now if God meted out His Judgment upon me instead of His Mercy?  Where would any of us be?

Scan 73

1965, Bulger released from prison

Oh, how thankful I am that one day, before Almighty God, True Judgment will be meted out to those who have not accepted God’s gift of Mercy.  And for those of us who have accepted His Merciful Gift, to not stand under the judgment for our sins.  For Christ has already stood in our place, in my place, on the Cross.

Praise God for His Mercy!  And the knowledge that vengeance is His.  That we do not need to concern ourselves with injustice, for He is in control of all things.

2013, Bulger's conviction

Crane’s Beach, Ipswich, MA, 2013, Bulger’s conviction

To God be the Glory, great things He hath done!

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