Monday, July 23, 2012

Where Did Your Mind Go First?

I realized something very interesting this morning.   When I first heard about the shootings in Colorado, my mind didn't go to the victims.  It didn't even go to their families.  It first went to the parents of the shooter.

Where did yours go?

It's not that I don't have compassion for the victims -- or their families.  But I can't imagine what it would feel like to be the mom of the shooter.   What if she was a good parent?  What if he is mentally ill and his parents had tried everything?

My kids aren't killers.  But it is difficult to be the parent of someone who causes other people pain -- in whatever capacity.  So being the parent of someone who would cause THAT much pain -- I can't help but feel for them.

Apparently at least one other person agrees with me. 

But maybe this sets me apart as different -- like so many things do -- from "normal" people.   Maybe it makes some people angry -- especially those who aren't sure they even believe in mental illness.

But it's who I am.  It's a part of me.

Bart is presenting at NACAC on Friday a seminar called Riding Your Internal Monsters Down.  As adoptive parents we have them - those internal monsters.   But it's in the riding down of those monsters that we come more human -- more compassionate -- more inclined to offer grace.
Sixteen years ago Bart and I made a decision -- right about this time of year -- to submit our paperwork into the county to become foster parents.  And because of that, we never have been, and never will be the people we were before.   It's no surprise that I'm not thinking like everyone else any more, because I've been forever changed.


Sheri said...

Mine too. Here is my facebook status : Friends: The early reports are saying that the perpetrator of the shooting spree at the Batman movie "experienced a difficult and traumatic childhood". My child is a child of early trauma, my friend's are raising kids with "early trauma". I am not saying my child is capable of such an act (I pray) but I understand the parents and what they are going through. Try not to judge a family who has a child in public who is not acting "appropriately". Try not to blame the parents. They are traveling a hard road. They need services that are unfortunately lacking (or being cut by budgets) in so many states. These kids need mentors, kindness, compassion and patience. If you know a family like this, raising a hard kid, ask if you can take the child to the park to give the parents and child a much needed break. Ask how you can help and mean it. Please help stop this cycle.

GB's Mom said...

I have no idea if my RADs will be capable of that kind of violence in adulthood. I pray not, but I do not know. I pray for all parents that can't be sure.

tashapork said...

I really think parents have a lot less influence on their teens and adult children's choices than society would like to believe. Many kids such as Ashley Rhodes Courter and Caitlynn from teen mom have had trauma as children and they are doing great things. Others have had ideal lid childhoods and are hardened criminals. We can give opportunities and examples, but not consciences, I just hope society gives these parents compassion and not blame.

Anonymous said...

My first thought was that my little sister also died in Aurora--my second thought was the same as yours.

Mary said...

My thoughts went straight to the parents as well. Probably because many of us think "there but for the grace of God...."

Lee said...

I didn't think about the situation with blame. I actually ranted at the media because there was something like 5 nonstop hours of coverage in our area and a lot of it was done (frankly most of it in my opinion)in a very sensationalist fashion. I feel that people who are mentally ill or disturbed (and in my mind one must be to do such a thing) this is what they want. Our disturbed kids look for attention negatively as well as positively and we are just making some other ill person think that this is the way to get their name out there and to "show" people. I know we have to report it, we have to talk about it, but we seem as a society to be almost voyeuristic about it. The whole thing is so sad.

Jen said...

First I felt embarrassed and anxious for the mother. Then I wondered if she had done enough to get her son help that would have prevented this...

Exactly how I view myself, unfortunately. Embarrassed and anxious, and working constantly to fill my difficult child with as much healing and coping as I possibly can, so I know that his issues are not my fault.

Miz Kizzle said...

My first thought when I heard about the massacre was the need for gun control. Over 100,000 people are fatally shot in the US every year and we bury our heads in the sand and blame bad parenting and "the media."
If you want to assign blame, blame the NRA and the gun lobby and the elected officials who are too afraid to stand up and demand an end to the slaughter.
I have nothing against hunting and target shooting but automatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition should be banned.

Miz Kizzle said...

BTW, as a former journalist I find the "blame the media mentality" extremely tiresome and frankly, ignorant.
Mass murder is not tasteful. It doesn't involve puppies and rainbows. When somebody opens fire on a theater full of people the public wants to know what happened. Was anybody they knew there? How badly were they hurt? Did they catch the shooter? Who is he? Why did he do it? Did he say anything? Is there anything the public can do, such as donate blood? And so on.
It is unpleasant to contemplate violent death. I get that. But reporters have a responsibility to cover the news. They are not ghouls or vultures but professionals doing a very difficult job under tremendous pressure.
My suggestion to anyone who finds the news to be distressing is to change the channel.