“It’s not our abilities that define us. It’s the choices we make.”

“It’s not our abilities that define us. It’s the choices we make.” I don’t know where that quote that hangs in my kitchen came from but it’s the mantra that I try to live by and to teach my kids to live by. They haven’t always. I haven’t always. I keep it there to remind me to make good choices. Like everyone in this community I have been so troubled by the Christian-Newsom murder trial that’s been on our minds, on our television, the internet and in our very souls. I’ve watched through tears at testimonies from the families of the victims and the perpetrator. I listened to Latalvis Cobbins half-sister talk about him as a toddler and a young boy and thought about the difference a stable family upbringing might have made. He didn’t have one. When he came of age, he was confronted by many choices. He made bad ones. I am not a psychologist and don’t know what kind of abilities that young Letalvis Cobbins might have had but I do know that an adult Cobbins had a choice to leave that house on Chipman Street. He had a choice to call the authorities and tell them what was going on in that house. He chose instead to stay, to rape, to torture and to watch others kill two innocent young people. And the jury of his peers chose life imprisonment without parole. Was that an appropriate choice they made? I don’t know. Our community will debate this for some time to come but I do know one thing. Letalvis Cobbins had a choice to make and he made a deadly...

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