By Kevin Unitt 24/04 Updated: 24/04 14:50
“IT IS my wish that you one day recognise the consequences of your actions and show remorse for what you have done,” said Paul Davies, the friend of murdered James Kouzaris and James Cooper, as he glared across court at murderer Shawn Tyson.
Sadly he may be hoping for too much.
Two alien worlds collided in the early hours of April 16 2011, with awful consequences.
It is not a black against white argument, nor even an England against America one, for violence can face us here too if our luck is out and we walk down the wrong street at the wrong time.
Cooper and Kouzaris were enjoying a night out during their holiday in a foreign land. They came into contact with a boy of 16, to whom a foreign land would probably have consisted of ten blocks north or south.
A twist of awful fate meant the opportunities provided to Cooper and Kouzaris, through relative affluence, led them into the path of a teenager seemingly denied those same privileges, for whatever reason.
This is not to defend or explain his appalling actions, as whatever upbringing he had would not have justified his choice to wield a gun, and shoot it repeatedly, into two unarmed and innocent men.
Paul Davies, in his comment to Tyson, demonstrated the hope we all have, to understand why someone would carry out such an awful crime, to discover what would drive someone to do it. Our hope they realise it was the wrong thing to do, realise the magnitude of its impact and then express genuine sorrow.
Without that happening we have to contemplate the deeply troubling fact that for some people human life is cheap. That far away from our leafy, largely relaxed and relatively crime-free lives, some people live by different codes that we simply cannot ever grasp or accept.
Joe Hallet, another friend of the pair who spoke to directly to Tyson, said: “I need you to understand the pain you caused.
“I want you to think of my friends who you murdered. Their images will be imprinted on your conscience until your very last breath in life.
"James Kouzaris and James Cooper continue to inspire those who knew them, yet they will haunt your thoughts forever.”
We can only hope they will, for if they don't then what does that say about that person, and what does it also say about the society which raised, or perhaps failed to raise, him?
There will be precious little sympathy for Shawn Tyson, nor should there be. The only victims in this appalling case are Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris, and all their friends and families.
But given Tyson has now fathered a child, born during the trial, the fear is society will rumble on with same underlying problems, and tragedies will repeat themselves over and over again, leaving more innocent victims in their wake.
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