Giving someone a second chance is like walking a tightrope. Many people will fall off of the tightrope, and only a few will actually walk it successfully. The purpose of giving out a second chance is to let someone have a shot to right the wrong they made, to give them a chance to change for the better. In reality, most people use a second chance as a “get out of jail free card,” and will never actually correct their misdeed. Second chances are not as potent as they should be, because they are allocated much too regularly. A second chance should only be given out if the recipient truly demonstrates that they are willing and capable of change. Second chances are given out too frequently, and are deserved by few, because not many people will seize the opportunity to use that chance to change for the better.
Every action has a consequence. Some are pleasant, while some are undesirable. The best way to learn from a poor choice is to experience the ramifications of it. Sometimes the consequence of an action is being disqualified from receiving a second chance. In The Other Wes Moore, the other Wes and other members in his gang, “…had run into J. Brown’s Jewelers waving guns at the customers… After grabbing $438,000 worth of watches and jewels from the store[,]… the four ran out to the adjacent parking lot… As Sergeant Prothero scampered behind the Delta 88 and began to lift his head, a black-gloved hand reached out holding a handgun and letting off three shots… [Sergeant Prothero] fought a losing battle for his life” (Moore 147-48). The other Wes and his gang members robbed a jewelry store and killed an ex-police officer. Wes is serving a life sentence in jail without the opportunity for parole. This is the only way for the other Wes and his fellow gang members to learn. The other Wes made a poor choice, and now has to bear the consequences. Had he been given a second chance, no lesson would have been learned. A second chance would have shown the other Wes that he could commit a heinous crime and not be severely punished. As the other Wes has learned, there are consequences to our actions.
Sometimes, although someone deserves a second chance, they do not always get one. For example, in We Were Liars, Cadence Sinclair accidentally killed all her friends, in an attempt to burn down Clairemont Mansion. Cadence realizes that “ [She had] killed them… It [was her] fault…” (Lockhart 208-14). She thinks back on the night as she feels “Cold, cold remorse” (Lockhart 208). Cadence would definitely redo that fateful night if she could, so she could save the lives of her friends. Sadly, there are some instances where people cannot get a second chance, just like Cadence. She deserved a second chance. As she recovered from the accident, she changed herself, becoming more mature and charitable. Sadly, some things in life cannot be redone, no matter how much one deserves a second chance.
Second chances are given to people so that they can learn for whatever mistake they made, and become a better person. Yet, people frequently use second chances as a pardon for their transgressions, and will never change. Instead, they will revert to their old ways after getting off scot-free. A great example of this is the USA-North Korea nuclear conflict. During ex-President Bill Clinton’s time in office, the US “…offered $4 billion worth of nuclear, energy, economic and diplomatic benefits in exchange for the halting of North Korea’s nuclear program in 1994” (Hamblin, “North Korea: How Obama, Bush, Clinton Dealt With the Rogue Nation”). North Korea agreed to the terms, but soon went back to their nuclear program. The Bush administration again agreed with the DPRK on an anti-nuclear deal, but the North Koreans backed out yet again. Finally, during the Obama administration, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, agreed “… to halt nuclear tests in exchange for food aid. North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons continued, however” (Hamblin, “North Korea: How Obama, Bush, Clinton Dealt With the Rogue Nation”). North Korea has been given numerous chances to take down their nuclear program by the US, dating back to the 1990’s. North Korea has taken advantage of these generous offers from the US, and refuses to remove their nuclear program. As it can be seen, second chances are typically abused and taken advantage of rather than taken as a chance for a person to change.
However, second chances can sometimes be used by someone to right a mistake they made. In The Other Wes Moore, Wes and his friend, Shea are picked up by a police officer for tagging. The police officer decided to let them go with a warning. Wes realizes “The cops gave [them] a gift that day, and [Wes] swore [he] would never get in a situation like that again” (Moore 84). Wes turned out to be a Rhodes scholar and a world-renowned author. The second chance the cop gave Wes really was a turning point in his life. If the police officer had arrested Wes and he had entered the penal system, his fate may have been closer to what the other Wes experienced. Although second chances are given out too much, sometimes they can be beneficial to get people back on the right track.
Second chances are so valuable because they are a chance for the recipient to start over and right a wrong they made. Unfortunately, the vast amount of second chances that have been given throughout the years have cheapened its value. Most of the time, when people deserve a second chance the most, the damage they caused is irreversible, and the people actually getting second chances are the ones who deserve it the least. People deserve less second chances because our actions have consequences and people will abuse that chance. Sometimes, people do not even get second chances, although they might deserve one. However, second chances can be a very wonderful chance to try again and make right a wrong. Second chances are given out much too frequently, and are abused countless times, but they can be an excellent chance for one to become a better person.