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Friday, July 27, 2012

Aurora--A Parent's Perspective

I try to blog at least once a month, but this month has been a challenge. I was all set to post about my break-up with Son (more on that later), or the duct tape purse business I've started with Daughter (more on that later, too), but the massacre in Aurora has been heavy on my mind. Posting my usual sarcastic fluff feels wrong when a tragic event has just rocked our country.

I don't have any profound statement to ease people's pain. Nothing will help a sane person understand this insanity. All I can do is share my perspective as a parent, for what it's worth.

Up until a few months ago, the shooter was in medical school. That anyone would commit mass murder is shocking. But I'm truly mystified that someone who studied to care for people is now responsible for 12 intentional deaths. Somewhere on his path to the Hippocratic Oath (frst, do no harm), he instead became a hypocrite, choosing to hurt rather than heal. How does that happen? We want answers. We want to know what turns a seemingly normal person into a mass murderer. We want to know how we can prevent it from happening again. Whatever set James Holmes on his murderous course, we can't blame his parents.

I don't think any parent sets out to raise a killer. Most of us do the best we can and pray our kids will become decent human beings despite our parenting blunders. If a 24-year-old man doesn't realize by now it's wrong to gun down innocent victims, his parents are hardly at fault. By all accounts, his mother and father are ordinary, well-respected, contributing members of society. Of course they are standing by their son. He's their son. That doesn't mean they condone his actions. I'm sure they'd like to crawl under a rock and stay there until the next lunatic--who isn't their child--monopolizes the headlines. Without a doubt, their lives are ruined; add them to the list of people injured by their son's senseless act.

Internet commenters are up in arms because six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan was at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." (Please don't ask me at what tender age I let my dino-loving son watch "Jurassic Park." Other than an affinity for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," Son seems to be turning out OK anyway.) We all make parenting choices that give others pause but, as they face the unbearable task of burying their baby girl, Veronica's parents need our compassion, not our self-righteous judgement.

Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6-year-old victim of the Aurora shooting
If I take my kid out of school to go to Disney World and--God forbid--she gets killed by a maniac, is it fair to vilify me as a shitty mother? Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I hope that little angel's mother never comes across those posts essentially blaming her for her daughter's death. Unfortunately, she probably will, and that will just compound the horrible guilt she will feel ... just because she took her young daughter to see a PG-13 movie at midnight.

One final note: I was so touched to hear about the three men who were killed because they shielded their girlfriends. As a parent, I hope my daughter finds a man who would put her first like that, and I hope my son becomes a man like that.

1 comment:

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