A family's decision to forgive the cold-blooded killer of their husband and father - to the extent of requesting his life be spared when justice cried otherwise - is an admirable silver lining to a senseless tragedy.

Making note of it on this page is not meant to trivialize a horrible crime that claimed an innocent man and forever changed the lives of his associates. The family proffered public expressions of remorse at not only deep personal loss but also the hopeless plight of the perpetrator recently in a Third District courtroom. To the world at large, angry pleas from survivors for a harsher penalty would be more expected and perhaps easier to understand.Those choosing the lofty, albeit difficult, higher road were the spouse, children, sister and other relatives of Lee Parker, a postal worker shot execution-style on I-15 in May 1997. They wept in court Monday while telling a judge of their heartache at losing a beloved family member. But they also spoke of forgiveness and mercy for his killer, Jose Garcia-Miramontes, something unusual in this vindictive day and age.

Other crime victims and their loved ones have no doubt found it in their hearts to likewise forgive, a state not easily attained by anyone scarred by violence.

Garcia-Miramontes, high on LSD, sideswiped Parker in the early morning hours while the latter was en route to his shift at the U.S. Post Office. The young man shot Parker for no apparent reason, then returned to shoot him again at point-blank range. He was sentenced to life in prison with three additional sentences of five years to life for attempted murder of two others and for stealing a car after the incident.

There is no reliving and revising the mindless deeds that claimed Parker's life; no adequate restitution or replacement. But through it all many people admire the courage to forgive and move on demonstrated by Lee Parker's family. As his twin sister compassionately noted: "How sad. Two lives were lost here - my brother's and Mr. Miramontes'."