- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 16, 2002

Noble: The jurors of Andrea Pia Yates, for ethical clarity in the midst of a monumental moral muddle.
No one doubts that Yates is disturbed by enough demons to give even Buffy the Vampire Slayer a difficult time. But no one doubts that Yates was guilty of a truly nightmarish crime, either. While perhaps only God could discover Yates' true moral culpability, the 12 men and women of her jury had the burden of deciding her capacity to reason at the time she drowned her five children in a bathtub.
The choice was as heartbreaking as the circumstances surrounding it. But the jurors had to make that call of conscience, following an ancient tradition that always comes down to a single moment of moral clarity. Apparently, each juror's small voice rang like a trumpet, since within four hours, they came back with the only appropriate verdict: guilty of capital murder on all counts.
Having made one difficult choice, the jurors made another yesterday, deciding the appropriate punishment for someone whose conscience didn't kick in until she had forced the final breath from each one of her five children. Indeed, each juror probably realized that this tragic tale would continue regardless of whether Yates was given the death penalty or allowed to live out the rest of her days locked up. On Friday, Yates was given a life sentence.
Still, given the dreadful nature of their charge, the Yates jury has done well.
Knave: Yankee ripper Ruben Rivera, for a petty theft and a monumental betrayal of trust.
There is crying in baseball, now that Ruben Rivera's raging conscience has staged a remarkable comeback. Of course, Rivera's mourning might have something to do with the fact that he lost $800,000, and a promising career with the New York Yankees for stealing and then selling the bat and glove of former fellow teammate Derek Jeter to a sports memorabilia dealer for $2,500.
Rivera claims he was simply seduced monetarily, er momentarily. However, the former is more likely to be true as well, since before he received his 30 pieces of payoff, Rivera made an entire series of immoral choices, starting with his decision to betray the trust of someone he had been roommates with for two years and known for an entire decade.
Somehow, Rivera saw the matter simply as a simple error, one which he made good for by apologizing and returning the stolen gear. Fortunately, that skewed sense of ethics was more than enough to cashier him from the club, as Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman did last Monday night, presumably without bothering to look in Rivera's locker for any other missing memorabilia.
It is fitting that Rivera's memorable, moral foul up has cost him more than just a few at-bats it has cost him the entire ball game.


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