With the horrendous shooting in Aurora at the theatre, in which 12 people lost their lives and 58 were injured, still fresh in our minds, already the vilification of the parents has started. Comments on newspaper articles and message boards are appearing, condemning the parents of this killer. Some saying they must have known what their son was like. Or they were abusive and they are to blame.
Not every killer comes from a dysfunctional home. Not every killer has a broken family background. Schizophrenia is one mental illness, there are many more mental illnesses and believe me people don’t asked to be burdened with a mental illness and neither do their families.
It is something bestowed upon them without them having a choice as to whether to accept it or not. They have no say.
In 2000 in the County of Texas, Larry Keith Robison was executed for the murders of 5 people, which included a 11 year old boy. Immediately after the killings reporters surrounded their home and his mother still to this day remembers the actions of some of the local community. With parents requesting children be removed from her class. Both Lois and Ken Robison were teachers. However they were now not known as Ken and Lois, the local schoolteachers. Lois said to NBC in an article:
“We became the parents of a mass murderer.”
When normal families have to deal with the mental illness of a child, it can be traumatic and above all it is very worrying. When they are children, you can ensure they take their medication, but when they are adults, you can’t force them.
You can’t keep them prisoner either.
Neither can you decide that there is a great risk of them harming someone so it would be best to murder your own child, in order that they didn’t harm another person. If you did that you would be in Court yourself facing years in prison on a Murder charge. And if you committed such a heinous crime in a certain state of America you could yourself be facing the death penalty.
And, above all, you can’t stop loving your child.
So what do you do? You can inform all the authorities you want, but unless somebody gets off their butt and does something to help then, the risk of a mentally unstable person slipping through the net increases. If there are not the resources available to monitor people who have mental health issues, then the more chance there is of some tragedy evolving.
If the resources are not there, what are parents supposed to do? How do they care for their offspring without breaking the law themselves.
If they locked them in their room that would be false imprisonment. There is only a certain amount a parent can do, and they can’t do it all. It is impossible to expect that.
So easy is it to turn and blame the parents. So easy it is to assume that the child never had a proper upbringing. So easy is it to vilify the parents for the actions of their child.
At times, our children do something that we don’t like, or we don’t approve of. We are angry with them, we might even refuse to speak to them until we have calmed down, and we might not like them for what they did, but we NEVER stop loving them.
No mother or father can turn off their love for the child at the flick of a switch. No matter how much pain and suffering is going on, the parents of these killers suffer too.
A parent’s love is unconditional. There are no bounds and when something goes tragically wrong… sometimes the parents become victims themselves.
For eternity, like every other family of a person who has killed, they will have to live with what their child did. They will have to live with the guilt and the shame, and they will be forever and a day questioning everything they did in raising their child. Did they do this wrong? Did they do that wrong?
Should they have seen the warning signs? Should they have made the authorities act? How I don’t know but that won’t stop the parents questioning their upbringing of their child.
Even if they change their names and move elsewhere, they will be recognised and even if they weren’t, they could never leave behind the hurt, pain and guilt they are suffering.
I think it is time for some people learn to realise the parents did nothing wrong and they are, in fact, victims too.