A Case Study on Racism and Learning to Forgive: Anthony Walker’s Mother

Stephen WellingtonMormon 13 Comments

Anthony Walker This is the story of forgiveness.

ThugsThis is a story of a young 18 year old man named Anthony Walker who was beaten to death with an ice axe back in 2005 because of the colour of his skin. The two murderers, Michael Barton 17 and Paul Taylor 20 were found guilty and put in jail for a minimum of 20 years.

The Judge, Mr Justice Leveson, told Taylor and Barton the attack was “a racist attack of a type poisonous to any civilised society”.

The reactionary part of me thinks “Put these murderers to sleep with some sodium thiopental!”
Gee Walker

But Anthony’s mother, a devout Evangelical Christian, has shown me an example that I feel shows the discipleship of a true Christian. Gee Walker saw Anthony in hospital with the axe sticking out of her sons head. The images will probably resonate forever. She is the mother of 6 and has lost a son who she said would not harm a fly and had great ambitions to be a lawyer when he grew up.

Gee Walker said in answer to the question “Do you hate Barton and Taylor?

Gee: I can’t hate. I brought up my children in this church to love. I teach them to love, to respect themselves, and respect others. We’re a huggy family and they go out and portray that same image. We’re a forgiving family and it extended to outside, so it wasn’t hard to forgive because we don’t just preach it, we practise it. It is a life sentence. What does bitterness do? It eats you up inside, it’s like a cancer. We don’t want to serve a life sentence with those people.

Has your faith been tested by Anthony’s death?

Gee: (Laughs) Has my faith been tested? Lord, yes. My name’s Gee, not Jesus! It’s been hard, so hard, but I have to follow what the Lord teaches. It is easy to say those things, but when it is you who must do them, it is hard.

I hope we can all learn from people like Gee Walker and be peacemakers. I hope that Anthony’s murders also learn from her example.

Comments 13

  1. This types of cases really put our online feuds to shame.

    While most of us may never be in a position to have to forgive another for something so extreme, we can all practice peace and forgiveness on a smaller level by being less aggressive, more patient, and more kind to those with whom we interact.

  2. Forgiveness is bloody excruciating, especially when a person(s) who has wronged you deeply is unrepentant, or superficially so. I still have deep anger for two former friends who harmed my family deeply. Though I don’t think about it constantly anymore, there are times of deep hurt. Biding for time to pass really is not the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness is an affirmative act, not a state of forgetful-like recognition after some amount of time has passed. Even when I forgive these people, I still don’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing I’ve forgiven them. Which means I haven’t reached that place of grace and true forgiveness in my heart I would think. Gee Walker is such a hopeful example. Thanks for posting Stephen.

  3. Forgiveness is so hard sometimes. I was wrenched by some of the things Elder Scott said about abuse in this last conference, because it didn’t seem harsh enough toward the abusers, a sure sign that I haven’t completely forgiven. This lady amazes and inspires me. What she said about serving a life sentence with them is completely true. Thanks for posting this.

  4. Wow. What an example. Thanks.

    On a personal note, I was blessed to be raised with a mother who never once raised her voice to anyone – not in anger and not in any other way. When we did something we shouldn’t have done, she would automatically tear up because of what she feared it would do to us. Those tears were worse BY FAR than anything my dad did to punish us. My dad used to say that if we came home and found everything gone, stolen by someone, my mom would say, “They must need it more than we do.”

    I have a deep and abiding desire for respectful conversation and mutual understanding explicitly because of what I saw my mother live. She was loved, truly and deeply, by everyone who met her, and I wish I was like that more fully.

    Elder Wirthlin’s words resonated with me largely because of my upbringing, but my experience since beginning to blog last year also made his words ring clearly to me. I have seen so much contention and bickering and vitriol in the past year, and it pains my soul – especially when I know what it does to people. I don’t ask for compassion in commentary because of what it does to a conversation; I ask for it because of what it does to the commenters.

    God bless you, Sister Walker. May He comfort your heart and allow you to know – somehow – how much your example means to others.

  5. Inspiring story. It reminds me of how the Amish reached out to the family of their daughters’ killer to share their grief also.

  6. Simply amazing. You can see that those 2 are quite disturbed individuals just by looking at their pictures. Forgiving someone that wronged you that deeply takes a lot of courage and real faith, not the fake kind that requires one to make a last minute appointment on the last day of the month to visit your home teaching assignment.

    I am saving this and if I am ever in the position where I have to give a talk, I will include this in it.

  7. My cousin’s daughter was killed by her ex-husband in front of the children. He also left my cousin’s husband (grandfather to the witnessing children) for dead. Fortunately he survived, but each day he struggles with his health. These acts are painful beyond belief and resonate pain through out the family and community.

    My cousin has taught me much about forgiveness and finding strength to survive. The strength of forgiveness rests on a person’s testimony of the atonement. It is through the atonement that we can be forgiven; it is also through the atonement that we can lay our burden on the Savior and trust in His judgment and in His restitution; since he has already suffered for this act.

    My cousin’s days are better now and she is starting to find the joy that comes from doing mundane chores…every day. More then two years later, the ex-husband was sentenced to life with out parole for the murder of my cousin’s daughter and the attempted murder of my cousin’s husband.

    The children have been adopted by my cousin’s oldest daughter and her husband. The whole family expresses miraculous blessings of strength, guidance and love from the Savior to bear the pain.

  8. What more can be said than that Gee Walker is a devoted follower of Christ’s admonitions to turn the other cheek and to forgive seventy times seven?

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  10. This is really bad :\ I love that woman! – a legend to humanity.
    And those 2 naughty boys who killed him! god damn you stupid killers! and i also think they are sick sick people because they chose a ice pick for peet sake!!!
    I love you GEE – keep well 😀

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