A year ago, almost to the day, I posted a Sunday's Quote about Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old who immigrated with her family to Massachusetts in the autumn of 2009. Hit with a relentless barrage of bullying almost as soon as she arrived, the young Irish lass felt she could tolerate the abuse no longer and committed suicide in January 2010 just a few months after she reached American soil.
Nine students from South Hadley High School were charged with numerous felonies. Six of them recently struck deals by which they were allowed to plead guilty to lesser imputations. Although the majority ended up with what amounts to a slap on the wrist, the national attention this story received will hopefully serve as a reminder about the reasonless nature in which we sometimes treat others.
One might argue that justice has not been served. Understandably some may feel that these smug little heathens all but got away with murder. It would be difficult to disagree considering that most of Phoebe's aggressors will serve no time inside a prison cell. Yet whatever the consolation, the memory of Phoebe Prince -- an innocent teenage girl from Ireland who hoped to somehow fit into her new and unfamiliar surroundings -- will remind us that terrible and irreversible things can happen when people refuse to intervene.
"Nothing is to be preferred before justice."
– Socrates (470 BC-399 BC, Greek philosopher)
"God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice."
– John Donne (1572-1631, English poet, satirist, lawyer, and priest)
"Justice is the truth in action."
– Joseph Joubert (1754-1824, French essayist)