Where peace begins

Riverwalk attack victim answers hate with boundless love

The metaphorical falling safe, as we all know, does not distinguish between good and bad people below. It simply falls. Perhaps this is why bad things sometimes happen to good people.

But in this case, the safe seemed to go out of its way to land on some very good folks.

The victims in the now infamous Riverwalk bat attack – in which a couple from South Carolina on their first date were beaten in the head with a metal bat by two robbers May 3 on Augusta’s big tourist draw – are Wesley Spires, 27, a landscape worker and volunteer fighter, and Ashley Solesbee, 25, who teaches autistic children and dance.

And who already has forgiven her assailants.

“I never for one second felt anger or any ill will toward them,” she told The Chronicle this week, not long after being released from the hospital, where Spires was in an induced coma.

In fact, whereas most victims of a vicious attack would want a pound of flesh, Solesbee certainly wants justice done – but said she wanted the attackers to turn themselves in primarily so they could turn to God that much more quickly.

“I know they need the love of Jesus right now,” she said.

They need only ask Solesbee where to find it. She is quite obviously overflowing with it.

While the nation’s manic and superficial attention skips from terror attack to murder trial to kidnapping horror, what a shame if we were to overlook the divine grace, mercy, love and forgiveness on display right here – in the form of a 25-year-old woman who just survived a horrific crime and quickly seeks her attackers’ redemption.

Some wonder if the assault was a hate crime. We don’t know. Regardless, it is being returned by love.

If that doesn’t illuminate the dark hearts of the perpetrators, let it at least shine a light on the rest of us.

Peace truly does begin with you. And it can do so at the most unlikely time.

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