In 1990 on December 9th, I was beat up and left for dead on a sidewalk. My mother wrote a letter to the Toronto Star that night, while I was unconscious on a bed in the hospital. That one incident did more to change the lives of everyone I knew and then some. The letter had an enormous impact upon people and victim's of violent crime and I was compared to Buddha and Jesus in a University text for my propensity to forgive.
The impact that letter had on the world was monumental. It definitely opened the door for the acceptance of the victim impact statement in court proceedings and more importantly, gave parents a voice with regard to victims of violence.
Here's the letter that started it all and lead to my understanding of the situation. It appeared in the Toronto Star on December 30, 1990.
Thank You For Not Killing My Son
I hope you will print my letter of gratitude to the strangers who have affected our lives.
Sometime between 1:30p.m., Dec 9 and 1a.m.,Dec 9, a young man was viciously attack - beaten unconscious for no apparent reason other than walking by you on a public sidewalk.
He was left lying in a pool of blood from an open head wound in the Victoria Pk - Terraview area. He was found around 1a.m. and taken to Scarborough General Hospital where ironically his mother spent 48 hours in labour before giving him birth, 23 years earlier.
His mother is angry of course, but thankful for the following reasons.
First of all - his eye socket was shattered and hemorrhaging but his eyesight will not be affected. Thank-you.
His ear canal was internally lacerated from a tremendous blow to the side of his head. The cut could not be stitched and the bleeding was difficult to stop, but his eardrum seems to be undamaged. Thank you.
He required numerous stitches to his temple, forehead and face, but your boots didn't knock one tooth out. His head was swollen almost twice its size - but Mom knew that his brain was intact - for he held her hand as he lay on a gurney, by the nurse station, I.V. in his arm - his head covered and crusted with dried blood - waiting for xray results and the surgeon to stitch him up.
So thank you for this eyesight, his hearing and his hands which you could have easily crushed.
His hands - human hands - the most intricately beautiful and complex instruments of incredible mechanism - the result of billions of years of evolution - and you people used yours to beat another human being. Five guys and two girls to beat one person. Who do I thank? Did you know he was a talented young musician with a budding career - and that playing his keyboards and piano mean more to him than words can say.
And when his friends were talking about revenge I heard him say "I don't want someone else's mother to go through what mine has". That's who you were kicking in the head. So, I thank you for not causing the most horrible and devastating thing that can happen to any parent - that is - the untimely tragic loss of a child at any age.
You could have kicked him to death but you only left him to die, a person found him and called for help. I am his mother, and I have been given a second chance thanks to you.
I hope that someday you'll have children and love them as much as I love mine - but I wouldn't wish on your child what you did to mine.