Saturday, April 21, 2007

a killer's parents

i've had this post written for DAYS, but was just waiting for the right time to post it...

in the wake of virginia tech, i want to talk about some people that no one really talks about.. well, unless it's to place blame, point fingers and burn at the stake.

the killer's parents (and his family).

not all bad kids come from bad homes. not all assholes have asshole parents. can you imagine for one minute what it must be like to be those people? not only have you lost your own child, but your child is responsible for killing 32 others. does anyone feel bad for them? does anyone even ever think about them?

i think they totally get lost in the shuffle. no one grieves for or with them. no one talks about their loss or their devastation. they have to live with this, possibly even worse, than the "regular" victims families do. there is more guilt for them... more questions and even less answers. i can't even begin to imagine their pain. i can't even begin to imagine their personal horror and what they'll do to themselves in the months to come. and i definitely don't envy the position that they are now in. i'm sure they will question and beat themselves up for things they just couldn't have possibly predicted. everything even slightly "off" from the past will suddenly become a "sign." and it's not fair. because we can't be expected to read minds. even if we are the parent, sibling, or relative of the killer.

i felt the same way about the columbine killers parents. even though there were minimal signs of neglect, how well do you REALLY know your kids? i think that dylan and eric were masterminds of bullshit. they acted one way to and around their families, but were completely different to eachother and others. i don't think it's that hard to hide aspects of your personality if you want too. and can parents really be expected to know if their child is planning on going on a rampage? does having a problem child immediately mean they're going to kill people?

i guess i just feel bad that so many fingers get pointed at these people- as if they should have known intimitely what their son(s) were thinking and feeling and planning on doing. i think it's a lot of ask of anyone. and hindsight is always 20/20. i guess i just always remember that while the killer was a disturbed psycho, his family might not have been. and they are probably in more pain than any of us can even begin to fathom... and that makes my heart hurt for them.

i want to be clear that i am in no way sympathetic to the killer(s). i do not feel bad for them or whatever fucked up mental issues they had. i.don't.care. i don't want excuses for why they did this. shut the hell up about the bullying and teasing. get a freaking grip. everyone is teased. everyone is bullied. and they don't go kill people. i think the killers are pussies and pieces of shit. this is about the family they've left behind to pick up the pieces of their fucked up actions. the selfish way they've affected their families beyond comprehension. i am sympathetic to those left behind. those whose hearts are probably filled with more hurt than one could stand.

13 comments:

Piece of Work said...

I agree with you mostly, Ster. I don't think parenting had anything to do with the VT shooting. From what I've read, Cho was deranged. Mentally ill. That is not the fault of the parents. It's unfortunate he hadn't been hospitalized before things got to this point, but like you said, nobody can read minds. As for Columbine, I often think about those parents. It's easy to blame them. One thing I can't get past, though, is how one of them had all those guns and ammunition and his parents didn't know it. Also, I think it's easier to blame the parents the younger the shooters are. After all, in high school, you are still under the care of your parents. Still, I know what you mean. Those parents lost a child, too. Hindsight and monday-morning quarterbacking doesn't solve anything.

RWA said...

His grandparents think highly of him. The phrases "son of a bitch" and "asshole" were repeatedly used when they discussed him.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that he wasn't provided any help before things got out of hand. From what I hear, he was obviously showing signs of mental illness. I actually do feel sorry for him, because he was obviously sick, but there is no forgiveness for what he's done. To me, it's like the mother from Texas with extreme PPD, who drowned her children in the bathtub. She too was mentally ill. It's an illness and if it goes untreated, terrible things can happen. He needed help.

margalit said...

When you say that nobody is talking about Cho's parents, you didn't know that us, the parents of children with mental illnesses, are talking about it all the time. It's our MAIN topic of conversation. I don't know anythng about what happened in their house other than what his sister has said, and what I've read as quotes from other family members. It seems like the family did not acknowledge that he had problems. It seems like those problems were an embarassment to the family and so they wre discounted.

But for those of us with children who suffer from mental disorders, we know... oh lordy we know the pain those parents are feeling. We know what it means to have a child that doesn't always act in anyone's best interest. That is impulsive and makes bad decisions. That doesn't understand the consequences of actions. We know what it means to parent a kid with no friends, that teachers don't like, that people reject.

I feel for the parents, I honestly do. But they SHOULD have gotten him help. It is there responsibility as parents to get their child help. I think they neglected to acknowledge he was mentally ill, and that is wrong.

Izzy said...

From the very beginning I've felt very sad for Cho's family.

I can't imagine how awful this must be for them. I don't blame them nor do I hold them responsible.

He was an adult with his own mind, albeit a fucked up one. And they lost a son, who I'm sure they loved despite his posthumous status as a mass murderer.

It's a brutally sad situation for all involved and it's a shame nobody pushed a little harder for Cho to really get the help he clearly needed.

jennster said...

margalit.. just wanted to thank you for your comment. thank you for opening my eyes to another viewpoint that i haven't quite thought 100% about. i just don't want mental illness to be the reason why he did this- and therefore, making it excusable. i don't want any excuse that makes it okay. know what i mean? i guess i just don't understand certain mental illnesses 100%. does anyone really? i also wonder- if cho has been like this forever (ever since he was born) maybe they didn't think there was anything "wrong" with him- they just thought he was different... and if his personality never really changed, how can you know? *sigh* so many questions...

amy (pow).. i think it's easy to look back at columbine and wonder how eric's parents didn't find his guns and ammo. but he had them hidden and i don't know- how often are we, as parents, going to search every inch of our kids rooms when they're teenagers? and how often was your room searched as a teen, and did you have things hidden? cause i'm pretty sure i did and probably could again if i wanted too- know what i mean? it's just tragic.

Mieke said...

Jennster,
I have been so very sad about all of this this week and just talked with a friend about this today. I think we are all quick to judge the parents of someone like this, because we want someone to blame. It just doesn't make sense to have someone go off and kill so many people so senselessly. But, the thing is, how many parents really know their kids??? When they get older, they don't tell you everything. You'd like to think they do, but we all know it just doesn't happen. They probably thought he was fine, off at college, living his life, and doing ok, according to what he told them. I think this is all so tragic, but I don't think it's fair for the media, etc, to point fingers at the parents. The society is all to blame for their part, from bullying, to not insisting that he got help for his mental illness. It's all so so sad. I think your awesome for posting this and making people think about it.

alison said...

There's this thing called gun control. I wonder if it would help?

Angelika said...

Good post!

I think it's one thing when your child is living elsewhere. It's very easy to lose touch. Especially in a world where everyone is busy busy busy.

But HS kids?

There was NO privacy in my house when I was growing up. My dear mother even read my diary. (Which is why I stopped keeping one.)

I can't understand how you can have guns & be building bombs and your parents don't know.

Still not their fault, though.

jennster said...

ali- this guy was an adult and he didn't break any gun laws. i don't think that gun laws or stricting gun control is the answer in cases like these. when someone is hell bent on creating chaos and taking lives- they are going to do it ANY WAY POSSIBLE. take away the guns, they'll just find another way. then what?

alison said...

When he purchased the gun, his answer to the question "Have you ever spent time in a mental institution?" was a LIE. He said no, when in fact he'd been in one TWICE. If that's the extent of our gun regulation, it's obviously not working. I do agree that he would have gotten his hands on one anyway if he was hellbent on killing people, but we do need more control. There are so many crazies out there with guns it's frightening. And he was one of them.

alison said...

Oh, and he sure did break a gun law. He killed more than 30 people with it.

Elizabeth said...

I just caught up with all of your posts about the shootings, and I'm kind of shaken up, but I wanted to say that I thought your writing was profound and heartfelt. Remember the 2000 Bloggers Project to memorialize the victims of 9/11? Next year, we should do a VA Tech Project and each pick someone to write about, so that their names aren't forgotten.