Give Them A Break - July 25, 2012

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!


  1. I think you saying she made a mistake has the exact judgmental finger wagging you are advising against. She did NOT make a “mistake.” She took her daughter to a movie. She did nothing wrong. It is not even remotely analagous to leaving a baby to go to a bar. This was a random, unpredictable act of violence by a cold-blooded murderer. The mother has zero culpability. I will pray for her.

    Comment by Mrs. Odie — July 25, 2012 @ 11:25 am
  2. Thanks for the feedback. I have seen the movie and it is VERY violent. I would not recommend it for a 6-year-old and definitely wouldn’t take my own child. In my opinion, it was a mistake. That is not the reason for the post though. It is to point out that we all make mistakes (regardless of how each of us define what a mistake is), but that does not warrant the backlash or punishment these parents are receiving. Not at all. The fact that it was a mistake or not has NOTHING to do with the shooting, as I have said in my post.

    The bar was NOT a direct analogy, but an “example” of times when we’ve had thoughts to do things that weren’t exactly in the best interest of our kids. We NEVER would have left our baby for a bar.

    Comment by Mommy Unmuted — July 25, 2012 @ 12:37 pm
  3. As parents we make choices. It isn’t usually thought of as a mistake until after the fact when something goes wrong. I read my 3 year old a book about spiders that night she up most of the night thinking there were spiders in her bed. Mistake. All kids are different and we parent them different – this child might have loved batman and it was a big special treat to go the premier. I made a deal with my 8 year old that if she read all the Harry Potter books she would see the movies but then what was I to do with my 5 year old. Guess what she got to watch them too (after the fact – this choice was a mistake). Some of our choices have to do with – well it is easier to take them to this than leaving them at home.

    I am pretty spoiled in that I get to do fun stuff pretty often so going to a movie premier is not that important to me but it might be important to this mom. A DJ on a local radio show took her kids out of school to go to the premier of a movie that was rated above her kids ages. Is missing school any worse than staying up until midnight?

    Why do they have midnight premiers anyway??

    The best part is that as Americans we can to make these choices. Never in a million years did this mom think her kid would get killed! It is unthinkable and has never happened before.

    I make a ton of mistakes as a parent I will never judge someone’s choices because lucky for me I only have to make them for my kiddo. We all do the best we can. Even parents that we might think poorly of do want their kids to be happy, healthy and successful – there is no exact way to make this happen- so we make the best choices we can.

    Comment by Nicole — July 25, 2012 @ 1:52 pm
  4. I completely agree that mistakes are always hindsight. Unless we’re masochists, we wouldn’t make them on purpose. Pre-child, I used to be a horror movie junkie. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series is my favorite action series of all time. It is very violent and very dark, though. The villains put most villains in the horror genre to shame. They scare me and I am OLD. I would probably question sending my 5-year-old to see Harry Potter, but that series is far less disturbing. If my kid had read all of the books and wanted to see them, I’m not sure what I would do. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, I guess ;)

    Comment by Mommy Unmuted — July 25, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

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