As I watch the latest reports on the most recent shooting in Colorado I am struck by several things. I cannot honestly say that either observation is exactly heartwarming.
The President and Mitt Romney both canceled campaigning today and both immediately pulled their ads off of Colorado TV. Both super PACS pulled their ads as well. They explained that the ads were too negative for those dealing with such a dark day. I’m happy that they still have some human decency inside of them and made this move. But I have to ask, what about the rest of us? If the ads are too negative for those in pain, aren’t they also too negative for regular folks?
Secondly, I saw news coverage of the shooter’s father as he was at the airport in San Diego trying to get to Colorado. Of course, the news people were all in his face, asking difficult questions and in some ways “just doing their job.” But my heart nearly broke looking at this man’s lonely pain. He had no law enforcement, lawyer or family friends to assist him as he made his way to his son. No matter what the outcome for the son, this man’s life had just changed forever. His nightmare is just getting started. As a parent, this makes me want to cry.
We so often forget that the families of the suspects are most often horrible victims as well. Not only do they have to deal with the results of some incredibly terrible event, but they also have lost someone dear to them. On top of that, parents, wives and children of criminals have to bear the burden of their own guilt. How might they have prevented this tragedy?
I have known two families here in Austin where the public and media crucified the wives for the deeds of their husbands. Neither wife had any clue as to the actions of their spouses, yet the police, the media and even the general public treated them like criminals. One received death threats had the police break into her home and trash it (long after the suspect was in custody) and had nasty surprises left in her mailbox. This woman was as surprised as everyone else that knew this man as to his illegal deeds. Can you imagine being treated like trash in the midst of your own heartache?
I just ask us to remember ALL of the victims (including the deranged person that committed the horrible act in the first place) when this awful stuff happens. It is a time to come together in compassion as we strive for understanding. We may not be able to “fix” situations like this, but we can do our best to care for one another.