When I was a Public Defender, people often asked me, "How do you sleep at night, representing those criminals?" I usually responded, "Like a baby, thanks."
Now that I'm on the other side, I still get those questions occasionally, "Don't the horrible things you see keep you up at night?" Usually, the answer is no, except that sometimes I stay up late telling funny stories.
Then there are the not-so-funny stories. Some are pretty damn bad.
Like the three year old victim I heard about this week, whose horrific injuries just won't leave my mind; the victim I would seriously consider bringing into my home to live, just so I could be certain he wasn't hurt again.
Like Marco David Chapman, who committed a terrible, heinous crime, but was a victim himself. I can't bear to think of forgiving him, but I can't bear to think of the state allowing his suicide-by-execution. It is for people like him that I am so grateful I believe in God, for surely only the God I believe in could offer him forgiveness and healing.
I don't think my job gives me any more access to horrible stories than the average person has; maybe it makes me notice them more. And on those days, the days that the stories hit me the hardest, I fervently wish that I had decided to be a librarian.
I don't have kids. If you do, please give them a hug. It could change their lives.