Actor Mark Wahlberg is seeking to receive a pardon from his younger life as a criminal. When the actor was 16-years-old he had civil actions placed against him for screaming racial slurs while throwing rocks at black people. A day after this incident occurred he beat a Vietnamese immigrant with a wooden stick so severely it knocked the man unconscious. That same evening he happened upon another man who he called a few racial slurs before smashing him in his face and causing him to lose sight in one eye. Now a celebrity, should he be pardoned for his criminal past?
For his vicious crimes that evening, which he attributes to alcohol abuse, Wahlberg was arrested and convicted for his actions. He was a minor at the time but tried as an adult and only spent 45 days of his three-month sentence behind bars. The actor has blamed his brief stint in jail for the horrendous acts which followed him during the remainder of his youth.
Now, the TED actor is seeking to be forgiven on record for his deeds. The Other Guys actor said he is a changed man and has devoted the remaining of his life to being a model citizen. The Transformers actor said he has sought to help young men transform their lives by becoming a mentor and has displayed a new-found respect for law enforcement. His application states his hope for a pardon is so troubled young people will be inspired and motivated to also turn their lives around.
Would a pardon be the best form of empowerment for these troubled youths? It seems that helping youth understand that today’s actions have the power to bring about consequences that can affect tomorrow and the rest of their lives would better benefit them. If the state of Massachusetts grants the Boogie Nights actor a pardon will this teach young people if they become a celebrity their slate will be wiped clean?
Wahlberg is a true testament to the second chance theory; however second chances do not always erase first time consequences. The Asian man, Hoa Trinh, who he attacked that wild and crazy evening has suffered permanent loss of sight to his right eye while his attacker went on with his life. In spite of his past he now makes around $11-15 million per movie, has a great family and is living the life many crave.
This is not to suggest the actor has not suffered consequences for his young actions. Undoubtedly to some degree, the man whose life he damaged might out weigh him on the scale of consequences with partial loss of his sight. Reportedly, Wahlberg has never even sought out his victim to try to do right by him. His lack of effort to contact his victim does not necessarily indicate he is not apologetic for his actions and to Mark’s defense his application reads:
I am deeply sorry for the actions that I took on the night of April 8, 1988, as well as for any lasting damage that I may have caused the victims.
Whether Wahlberg deserves to be pardoned or not is a question that cannot be answered here, however to offer a pardon because of celebrity status will definitely be a step back for this great country. The actor is requesting a pardon so he can obtain a concessionaire’s license for his restaurant business. He also believes it would allow him to work closely with law enforcement to help at-risk youth.
The Board of Pardons will investigate his petition and decide whether a public hearing in necessary before sending it to the governor. Once it reaches the state governor’s council the final decision will be made as to whether or not Mark Wahlberg should receive a pardon for his criminal past.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)