To think being old doesn't mean you should be forgiven for great wrongs ?(13 Posts)
But of a debate between myself and my boyfriend tonight.
His Step-grandad, ( technical relationship only came into his life as an adult, they have no meaningful relationship beyond saying hi if he sees him at his mum's or in the street,) has been taken to hospital with a painful infection. He is 80 years old.
Step grandad has by all accounts been a vile person throughout life. He has spent time in prison for attempted rape, and physically abused his wife and children to the extent that many of his adult children are heavily reliant on alcohol and have considerable mental health issues. His wife was beiefly sectioned after attempting suicide to escape him.
Anyway, boyfriend's mum mentioned he'd been hospitalized on the phone, he mentioned how sorry he felt for poor "Tom," ( not real name,) and how sad it was to be elderly and in hospital. He was really shocked when I said good, and that I wasn't at all sorry that a rapist and abuser was suffering in hospital. So basically AIBU to think that being old does not automatically excuse the above, ( or similar, ) crimes ?
No, i suppose not, but he did say he felt sorry for him being in hospital. I genuinely don't think of myself as a nasty person or vigalantee, ( I certainly wouldn't be seeking him out to shout at him for being a rapist,) but my first thought when i heard he was in hospital was "good." Which probably doesnt reflect well on me but it's the truth. Before DP and I found out about the sexual offences, we spent a couple of evenings with him at his mum's house. Now I know what he has been in prison for, I feel totally "ick," that I have inadvertantly spent time and stayed in the house at the same time as someone who is a rapist, so that is probably clouding my view.
I really thought this thread was going to be about the elderly people being tried for Holocaust crimes.
I think it's difficult, and much more nuanced than forgiving people because they are old.
I don't tend to wish suffering on people. I'm not sure why. There are exceptions, but in general, I dislike anyone suffering.
Him being old doesn't mean that he should be forgiven, but it does play a part. He's older, and sicker, and so if anyone has anything that they'd like to say, if they'd like to make peace or forgive for themselves, now might be the time. It's also perfectly possible to wish him better and help look after him without excusing what he did or forgiving him.
Forgiveness is a personal concept, I think. Some people do it easily, some people never do, some people find that forgiving people soothes them, somehow.
I think, in your position, I'd take my lead from your boyfriend and his family. If they don't think that it's "good" that he's in hospital, then there's probably no value in voicing that opinion, even if you feel it.
Its funny you should mention the holocaust guards thing, as I was discussing this at work a few days ago as well, ( the 97 year old guard getting imprisoned.) Again, reluctantly, I'd agree prison was the right option given the extreme scale of the suffering caused, and that there are somethings, ( such as gassing children to death,) which time can never, never put right.
With most, "little," things in life I am very forgiving though, it is only extreme cases such as this where I feel being elderly doesn't cancel out what you've done.
I understand exactly what you're saying OP.
I think there's no right or wrong here though.
Just two people, one who can separate the crimes and feel sorry for 'the' old person stuck in hospital and one who can't, so doesn't feel sorry for 'this' old person stuck in hospital, if that makes sense?
You can be disgusted by a persons crimes and actions and the person themselves but still feel sorry for someone's suffering in hospital but in an abstract human being way.
Ie no human should ever suffer.
There are at least 2 people who Iv known and have been unforgivably vile in their actions and I think it would be a safer world if they weren't in it but if I heard they were in hospital I would (hopefully) not think good but rather feel relief that they wouldn't be around to hurt anyone else.
Does that make sense?
By the way no judgement from me, you feel how you feel!
I think what I'm trying to say is I see it from both your sides I think
YANBU. Whilst im sure you wouldn't inflict/wish him more suffering, if he has been such a cunt in his earlier life, it's hard to feel any sympathy now that he is the one suffering. I have someone like this in my life, should anything bad happen to them (and i genuinely dont wish anything to happen to them) but if it did, yh it couldnt happen to a nicer person :D
Obviously it's unkind to gloat or say 'good' but you don't have to feel sorry for someone in hospital who has hurt you or hurt other people. Just like it's ok not to feel sad when an abuser dies, but it's not really necessary to say 'good I'm glad he's dead'...
I also don't get it when people suddenly start loving and caring for creepy evil people who hurt them for their whole life, just because the creep is old and will die soon. On, that YANBU.
I think there is a distinction between lack of sympathy for someone who has been unpleasant and actively wishing someone harm/pain/suffering.
I do agree that just being old doesn't absolve you of responsibility for past crimes though.
To give an example, many people did not mourn Mrs Thatcher's death as they did not agree with her politics, but they also thought it unseemly that some people were out celebrating and singing ding dong the witch is dead.
My horrible manager is in hospital at the moment. I wouldn't wish him any harm, but I wouldn't shed a tear for him either.
Other people at work have been less kind with their words, saying that they hope that he doesn't wake up on the operating table.
I wouldn't wish suffering on any one, but you can't help the way you feel.
I didn't shed a tear for Margaret Thatcher, but I wouldn't have danced out in the streets singing either. That did seem a bit like something from Dickensian times.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.