There is a flurry of judgment around the children of the Colorado killings. At first I thought I would lay low and give their parents a break from being bombarded by the media about their unfortunate decisions. I didn’t want to pour more salt into their wounds.
I’ve asked all of the same questions that everyone else has without any sensible answer. How could those parents take such small children to THAT movie? What were their children doing up at that time of night? Is seeing a movie more important than the mental well-being of their children?
Today, I don’t stand in judgment. I stand in support. As parents, we’ve all had our selfish thoughts. And, we’ve definitely had our selfish moments. Maybe this was the first time these parents acted on it. Maybe it wasn’t. But, their punishment does not fit their crime, by any means.
One family won’t have a chance to learn a lesson. Their young child and their hope are gone. The others will have a chance to learn, rebuild and, hopefully, be able to move on.
When we first had my daughter and lived in the city, my husband and I would joke about leaving the phone off the hook next to the monitor and making a quick run to the nearest watering hole. We’d be back before she woke, we would joke. We’d only be a block away, we would joke. We would trade-off holding the cell phone to our ear, we would joke. Truth is, we NEVER would have followed through, but at moments I wanted to. I wanted to very badly. Maybe these parents didn’t have that same willpower and acted on their desire with an extremely undesirable and unforgiving outcome.
When we were in Disney World, I took my daughter on the ride, DINOSAUR. It was a terrible decision; she was terrified. Would I have deserved to have one of the dinosaurs malfunction and fall on us for my mistake? Would I have deserved to have the car fall off the track and crash into a wall? It was a mistake and one that I have profound remorse for, as do the parents of the victims.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the six-year-old who died in the shooting, was a child who didn’t get a chance at life. Her parents lost their daughter and are, I’m sure, getting death threats and hateful correspondence. Violence in response to a violent act just doesn’t make sense.
Their punishment is worse than a death penalty. I’m sure they feel responsible for their child’s death. They will carry that throughout their lives. They will be in mental, solitary confinement forever. Other unaffected parents will learn their lesson and that will be her legacy.
In the end, their mistake will have some meaning. It won’t provide redemption (not even close). Maybe it’ll make parents question strapping their child into the car seat for a midnight showing of the next violent blockbuster. Not because of the shooting, but because of the nature of the show.
Did you know that Veronica’s grandfather died 10 months ago, after a battle with Leukemia? Maybe her mother just wanted some happiness and took her daughter to the movie. She didn’t expect the worse, but another life was taken from her. She is a parent who made a mistake, as we all have.
Give those parents a break and focus on the heroes that rose from the shrapnel. What about Kaylan, age 13, who tried to save Veronica’s life with CPR? Ashley Moser has suffered enough. She has lost enough for one year. Give her a break!