This morning I read a headline for an article on CNN.com that made me stop and think for a few minutes. What it said was “Dad Claims Sandy Hook Shooter’s Body.”
I read the article, but what it said didn’t really matter. The title alone was sad, and terrible. Perhaps to most people–including myself–not as sad as the parents claiming the bodies of first graders. As a parent of two small boys, what those parents must feel is unfathomable.
Yet the shooter’s dad had to claim the body of a dead son as well, and in some ways it almost seems just as bad. To him it probably is. Not only does he have a dead son, who by most accounts suffered from sort of mental condition (the level or name of which remains unknown), but he also has to wonder where he fell short as a parent, as a father.
The young man who did this terrible thing was once a first grader as well. He was once an infant, and his father cradled him in his arms, as I cradled my son just last night, and you have cradled your children at some point.
So his father grieves the loss of what he remembers, while also wondering what he could’ve done to stop it, or if he, personally is to blame.
What must that be like, to realize your son perpetrated such a monstrous act?
Let me say briefly that I am not addressing gun control or any political agenda here, but we can’t blame the father for what his son did. The blame lies with the killer. The guns he took from his mother aren’t responsible–he is. Saying otherwise is like saying jetliners are responsible for 9/11.
In any case, I pray the father of the killer is able to find some peace with himself and with God. I hope we as a body of people–Americans, fathers, mothers, human beings–can take something away from this terrible lesson.
Love your kids. Teach them to respect life. If your child is ill in some way–especially mentally–educate yourself all you can about what it is that ails them.
And be there for them, no matter what it costs you. We will never know what was in the killer’s troubled mind that brought him to a place where killing people seemed like the thing he should do.
As for me, I will do my best to make sure I’m available for my kids, to be a dad at any and all costs. What I will teach them I have posted about before, so for today just let me say that as horrible as the act was the Sandy Hook killer committed, his father still lost a son, and that’s sad.