Respecting Austin Hemmings

Murder victim's family find the courage to forgive

In churches across New Zealand today, I'm sure that words of prayer were offered for Austin Hemmings and his family. Hemmings, 44, became a tragic hero this past week when he went to the aid of a 25 year-old woman who was being harassed, and for his courage was stabbed to death by the woman's assailant.

Pundit's not going to be reporting crime per se. There's far too much of that already in the New Zealand media. But the bravery displayed by his family for all to see on the front-page of the Sunday Star-Times today is worthy of our admiration.

They forgive the man unconditionally. They would like to meet his family, "for their sake" and would be happy to meet the woman too.

I just hope that the 'throw away the key' crowd respect the family's gracious response and don't try to politicise this tragedy. Looks like the Sunday News tried to beat up that angle and Garth McVicar had the decency not to wade in. Let's hope it stays that way and Hemmings is remembered for his compassion, not as an excuse of righteous rage.