Published February 17, 2010http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
State Rep. Bob Hagan and YSU student Dorian Thomas stood Tuesday as great examples of what can be accomplished when logic invades hostility.
Just a week ago, they were examples of how to throw a punch and how not to take a punch.
Thomas knocked out the state representative after words were exchanged at The Lemon Grove in downtown Youngstown. Hagan was taken for stitches and Thomas was taken into custody.
I wrote Sunday that the entire incident is an opportunity for dialogue for the two of them and for the community.
Tuesday, that seemed to happen. Thomas was genuinely apologetic and Hagan asked the judge to be lenient on his one-punch attacker.
The two were side-by-side in court, and handshakes and hugs were exchanged after Dorian was sentenced to probation and a fine.
If you wished to have a contest of "Who was the bigger man?" you could argue for both.
Thomas could have argued that Hagan was a jerk that night and said something vile, etc. He didn't. "My conduct was inappropriate" is what he said.
Hagan could have played the victim role all the way to civil court. He had a stage, and he loves stages. It was prime opportunity to show up on camera with bandages and outrage and legislation — and nothing close to an apology.
He didn't. And for that, Hagan deserves a ton of credit.
Thomas is not in jail because Hagan realized there are true criminals in our world. But there are also people who make mistakes.