It was dark, and I was driving my girlfriend home from my lake house where we had spent the afternoon. I stopped at the stop sign at the end of the street, and I turned on to the main road. Very shortly afterwards, the headlights of another car came into view behind me, approaching quickly from the distance. Soon they were right behind me and I started to get nervous because it seemed as though the other driver intended to run me off the road. Despite the nagging voice inside my head saying, “pull over and let him pass,” I gradually increased my speed finally rounding a bend too fast for my own comfort and stepping on the brake. I had tried not to be an obstruction to the driver behind me but it seemed that no matter my speed, he was determined that it was too slow. As i put my foot on the brake, the dark sky behind me erupted with blue lights.
After five minutes of waiting, the police officer returned to my car, stating that, “because I didn’t get your speed on radar, I’m gonna let you off with a warning.” To me, this was a relief, for I did not believe that I deserved a ticket. While I had made the mistake of speeding my mind had justified the offense. Whether I deserved what I got or not, this experience allowed me to analyze my driving from a new point of view. Receiving the warning was a learning experience for me and it helped me to continue driving while still being mindful of the safety of myself and others.
I believe in second chances. Second chances can be important learning experiences and if an open mind is kept, a second chance allows for significant self-improvement. If a mistake is made why should the offender be punished harshly before they have had a chance to learn from their mistake?
In some cases there are repeat offenders who have not learned from their mistake and have not reconsidered a certain mindset. For example, at my high school, students are dismissed for repeated use of marijuana. As a result of a recent rule change, students get a second chance after their first use of the drug. This second chance can be used as a lesson, encouraging the offender to adhere to the community’s rules, but many offenders misuse their second chance and are dismissed from school.
For first-time offenders, I believe second chances are an important part of maturing. Who you are is decided by the mistakes you have made and the changes performed because of them. For this reason I believe in the importance of an open mind that recognizes that everyone makes mistakes. The most important thing is that we use second chances as a way to learn from these mistakes.