The verdict of the Costa Concordia captain trial is out. He is sentenced to 16 years in jail. Many of the survivors feel an enormous weight lifted up their shoulders; they feel some closure; some express joy in his future suffering.
When Benji and I were in Italy, licking our wounds under the loving care and protection of our friends Nancy and Jim, the topic of justice kept resurfacing. Is there such a thing as justice? Can you really demand it? Will there ever be justice for this?
We kept asking.
Over the next several days, months, and years, we have decided for ourselves that justice is illusive, but meaning is possible. Truly, the disaster was devastating on many fronts: it took precious lives; it brought nightmares and demons to many of our hearts; it made us question our basic beliefs about the world.
Near-death experiences do that to people.
The fight was painful, but we refused to give in. We refuse to give way to hatred and indifference. We made art, we made friends, and we tell stories, and over time, we forgive others and ourselves.
There aren't a lot of guarantees in life. Human frailty is a sure one. Making mistakes, being weak, getting hurt. Although highly experienced and celebrated for his skills, the captain was no exception. He made a horrible mistake, and now he is paying for it with his own life.
During his trial, captain Schettino said, "when those 32 people died, I died too."