How does one avoid regret? If the person is a psychopath, it’s easy: Regret may not even arise, no matter how vile the behavior.
But for most human beings, the path to overcoming regrets is paved with the gleaming white marble stones of doing the right thing.
Other than the natural human aversion to admitting errors, it’s fairly easy to express regret for actions taken or not, long after the time that choice would have made a difference is past.
So it is with some mixed emotions that I read David Minier’s “Armenian Genocide: How Valley prosecutor missed his chance to be ‘immortal symbol of justice,’” which appeared in the Fresno Bee a week ago.
Minier was the prosecutor in the Kourken Yanikian case. You may recall that back in 1973 Yanikian killed two Turkish diplomats after promising them art in an effort to get them to meet him.
Minier expresses regret that he didn’t let Yanikian have his “Armenian Nuremberg trial” by not objecting to the testimony of Armenian Genocide survivors. He had feared “jury nullification,” in which case a not-guilty verdict would have resulted. Minier now says he is sorry for missing an opportunity to do the right thing and strike a blow for justice.
Obviously, it’s too late to matter now, but it’s heartening to see that there is still decency among humans. Maybe his article will serve to inspire others in the future. We have a long, hard struggle to wage before the Armenian Question in its modern form is resolved.
Imagine if the likes of Samantha Power or Ben Rhodes (who served as a deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration) could have seen Minier’s piece, while in office, before they had made the fateful decision to do the wrong thing. Both were quoted in a Politico piece expressing “regret” for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Theirs is a lot harder to accept as sincere, since the opportunities they squandered, year after year, came more than three decades after Minier’s missed chance of a lifetime.
From now on, whether it’s a street cop acting overzealously in response to an arguably rowdy demonstrator at an Armenian Genocide rally, someone like Samantha Power who is not following the example set by Ambassador John Evans, a president of some country kowtowing to Turkish pressure, or anyone in between, we should send them a copy of David Minier’s piece.