Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2004 / 1 Teves 5765
All mothers’ pain is not created equal
On the witness stand, Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, repeatedly compared her anguish to that of Laci's mother, Sharon. But the comparison doesn't quite work.
Yes, both are angry: Sharon's beautiful daughter was brutally murdered and Jackie's son has been convicted of that murder.
If Scott Peterson gets the death penalty, both will have lost a cherished child, through no fault of their own. But Jackie suggests both will have also lost a loved in-law as well.
Jackie Peterson testified that she loved Laci as much as Sharon Rocha loved Scott. That may have been true. In fact, Sharon initially defended Scott. But while Jackie still loves Laci, Sharon does not share those sentiments about Scott anymore.
Jackie's statement ignores that reality.
Jackie's pain is based in helplessness; Sharon's in sadness and fury. Sharon's rational is supported by love and facts; Jackie's is just based on love alone.
Jackie has directed her anger towards the media and, ultimately, the jurors.
Sharon's anger is directed straight at Jackie's son. Jackie's effort to deflect blame from Scott is ultimately an insult to the Rochas.
If Scott were innocent, it would be fair to talk about everyone's pain. But when everyone else, the Rochas and the jurors, are convinced otherwise, it just adds insult to injury to lump them together. Talking about all of them as one family is only fair when she speaks for the family.
But no matter what anyone says, I feel for Jackie Peterson --- she is a sweet loving mother. But that should also lead her to better understand that her pain is not Sharon's. She has not lost her son yet. Even if he gets the death penalty, it would take at least ten years on death row before he is executed. That is not anything for her to celebrate but she and Sharon are just not battling the same demons.
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