Today at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time South Dakota is executing a prisoner on death row. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/south-dakota-0 That is disturbing enough. What is more disturbing is the media frenzy and graphic descriptions of what will happens when this man dies. Every ten minutes throughout the news broadcast updates were coming from the South Dakota State Penitentiary. This man’s death is being created into entertainment for our state. In the 1880’s it was not unusual for families to come to town from the farms to watch a public hanging. They would bring a picnic treating it as a family outing. It is over 100 years later, and it appears we have not evolved beyond our belief that death is entertainment. The only thing that has changed is the technology used to broadcast the entertainment. It is on the radio, television, and internet.
You may be asking yourself “what does this man being put to death have to do with relationships”. It highlights the lack of compassion that we have for each other. Even if you are an advocate of the death penalty; compassion for this man’s family is absent from our consciousness. Can you imagine being his mother, father, brother or sister? Every time they listen to the radio, watch television, or go on the internet their loved one is being described step by step to his death including the graphic details of the moment of death. The pain that this could cause to another human being is beyond description.
Compassion is the ability to place yourself in another’s shoes, and try to alleviate the other person’s pain. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/200804/what-is-compassion-and-how-can-it-improve-my-life Compassion in this situation would be to place yourself in Eric Robert’s family’s shoes, and understand how they might be feeling. Compassion is not making the death of their family member a media circus.
Stop to consider how much different our world would be if we had compassion for each other. Compassion is shown when you hold the door for another who has their hands full. Compassion is being cut off in traffic and letting it go because you understand how mistakes can be made. Compassion is understanding that everyone is different from us, and taking steps to make them feel welcome. This can be at home, work, school, or the mall. How can you bring a little compassion into your life today?