In the play Life of Galileo (Leben des Galilei) by Bertolt Brecht, Gallileo is told by his daughter, Andrea, Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.”Galileo responds, “No Andrea, unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”
As we enter a summer certain to be filled with more horrific incidents of gun violence, our country is unhappily in need of heroes. The spring, however, seems to have already brought us one: Kai Leigh Harriott of Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Kai Leigh s story was related by Marie Szaniszlo in the April 30 edition of the Boston Herald. Kai Leigh was just 3 years old in 2003 when she was struck on her front porch by a stray bullet which pierced her spine, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down.
The shooter was arrested and at his sentencing three years later, Kai Leigh turned her tear-stained face to the accused and told him that what he had done was wrong, but she forgave him.
Later, the convicted shooter videotaped an apology from behind bars urging other youth to learn from his mistakes. Viewing the tape, Kai Leigh (now age 7) said, I would tell him thank you for making an apology because you can inspire so many people by telling them, Don t do bad things.
Kai Leigh s spirit reminds me of the vision of the peaceable kingdom offered by the writer of the Book of Isaiah (chapter 11, verse 6 in the King James Bible):
The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.