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What Do You Say to a Killer's Parents?

Evil erupted in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012. Twelve people dead; 58 injured. We're all horrified.

One of the images of the last week is the alleged shooter's father exiting a plane at DIA. I watched him and wondered, "What would you say to your son?" Would you enter his jail cell with rage, tears, confusion, or stunned silence? I can't even imagine.

And then it made me wonder: What do you say to a killer's parents? Rage, tears, confusion, or stunned silence? Or why not compassion? After all, aren't these people victims as well?

We've had experience in Colorado with these things. After the Columbine shootings on April 20, 1999, people vilified the parents who "should've known better." There was very little compassion for them. They became pariahs in all the circles they would've turned to for support in the past.

Dave Cullen wrote in his book "Columbine," about a pastor who reached out in compassion to the Klebolds--parents of one of the killers. Reverend Marxhausen, pastor of St. Phillip Lutheran Church, let the Klebold family know he was available--and even officiated at a service for their dead son.

Cullen wrote: "Don Marxhausen made some of his parish exceptionally proud. That was their pastor--a man who could find compassion in his heart for anyone. A man capable of consoling the couple who had unwittingly produced a monster...Some of his parish, and much of the community, was appalled."

It makes me wonder: What would I say to a killer's parents? What would you say?

Posted at 18:57


Robin said...
...great question... I have no answer... it's one of those questions where you sit.. and try to think and the pit of your stomach starts to tighten up. A lump forms in your throat and nothing comes.
July 26, 2012 04:29

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