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A hope note

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice William McAnulty learned that his lung cancer had spread to his brain.
Having smoked for 40 years, he told the Associated Press: ‘I’m paying the piper. I ain’t a victim, and I ain’t going to whine.’
Judges and counselors (and spouses and parents and children and teachers) have heard every excuse under the sun for behaving badly. ‘The state of the world keeps me down.’ ‘Her smirk made me snap.’ ‘If someone talking on a cell phone bumped into your new car, you’d go ballistic too.’ ‘Alcohol has me hooked.’ ‘The diet didn’t work.’ ‘When he said that about my mother, I did what any man would do.’
The common alibi for bad behavior: I’m an innocent victim, not to blame, not responsible for what I am and do. It’s the fault of the diet, the cigarettes, the slur, the system. A person or place or thing or demon made me do it.
How rare it is to hear someone step forward and stake out the position, as William Ernest Henley did in Invictus: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’
What if we all kept a sign on our desk, as Harry Truman kept ‘The Buck Stops Here’ on his, that reminded us daily of the truth seen by Epictutus: ‘People are disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them.’
It was he, an ex-slave, who wrote: ‘I must die. I must be imprisoned. I must suffer exile. But must I die groaning? Must I whine as well? Chain me? My leg you will chain, but not my will.’
Peace and courage accompany you, Justice McAnulty, on your voyage. Sail on.

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