‘We love our son dearly… and cannot begin to understand why’: Colorado high school gunman’s parents speak out.
Gunman Karl Pierson, 18, entered Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado on Friday afternoon, targeting his debate coach Tracy Murphy. He shot fellow student Claire Davis, 15, in the head and then turned the gun on himself. Miss Davis remains in a coma in a critical but stable condition.
His parents released a statement today: ‘We are shattered by the tragic events that took place’
Of course I can relate to the parents of this young man who shot up a school, and put an innocent young woman into a hospital bed with severe injuries before turning the gun on himself.
I echo the heart break of his family at not only losing him to suicide, but to having him commit such a horrific crime. It is unfortunate that many times the parents are blamed for the behavior of their children.
With my son Patrick, I saw bad behavior, criminal behavior, at puberty, and those red flags told he he was “troubled” and out of control, but while I knew he was a thief, it never dawned on me he would become a cold blooded killer.
Just as Adam Lanza’s mother knew her son was “troubled” and hoped to “fix” him, to find a way that he could enter adulthood in a pro-social way, I too wanted to “fix” my son. I don’t know if these parents saw any “red flags” of discontent or violence in their son, maybe they did and dismissed them and thought they could “fix” them as I thought I could “fix” Patrick.
Of course many kids do stupid things, even illegal things, and “reform” before they become violent and lead good adult lives, but unfortunately many do not learn and grow, but simply give in to their violent streaks and become criminal offenders. How do you tell that your child may be one of the ones to progress to criminal violence, substance abuse, etc.
I think the first thing is what is their “attitude”? I remember a conversation between a neighbor kid who at 11 was the most charming kid in the world, but at 15 it was all about HIM! He wanted to drive the family’s vehicle though he did not have a license and any crash he had would put the parents into bankruptcy, they patiently explained 100 reasons it was not wise for him to drive, even though “his friends all did.”
He listened to their reasons and then blurted out, “But just give me ONE GOOD REASON I can’t drive til I’m 16!” He had not heard a word they said and to his adolescent mind they were just trying to make his life miserable. This young man was unbearable at 15 but by 16 was working after school and by age 21 had become an assistant manager of a Wal Mart store and by 25 was a manager. He eventually saw reason and grew up a wonderful young man. My son, however, at that same unbearable age continued to defy me, and took the cars at night without our knowledge or permission. Even when brought home by the police and not arrested, he had no remorse for what he had done. By 17 he was taking stolen guns to school and showing to his friends to impress them with what a tough guy he was. By 17 he was also robbing people and businesses, and again showed no remorse.
I think the attitude of a young offender or unreasonable teen is the most telling sign of whether or not they will “grow out of it” and become responsible citizens as adults. Of course my neighbor kid’s attitude wasn’t all that great, but he didn’t take the car after being told not to and go joy riding, and he didn’t steal, he just wanted to follow the foolish example of his friends and his parents wouldn’t let him, but he didn’t DEFY them even though he didn’t agree with their rules. My son had a defiant attitude.
I just got an e mail from a woman referred to me for advice from a friend of mine who is also a friend of this woman’s. The lady, mother of a 17 year old son high in psychopathic traits, pathological defiance, psychopathic pathological lying and refusal to live under his mother’s roof or rules. I didn’t hold out much hope to this woman who wanted advice on how to make her son come home. There is also genetic pathology in the case of this young man’s father and also in the mother’s family as well who have sided with this boy, believing his lies that she abuses him, much as Patrick’s claims that I abused him is why he is a killer, and continues to hoodwink my elderly mother in to believing he has “found Jezus.” So I was unable to give this mother much comfort for the potential rehabilitation of her son. I do however, have a great deal of empathy for this woman and also for her concerns for the younger of her two sons who at this point in time is pre-teen and very sweet and compliant, much as Patrick was. But, DNA is not destiny, so hopefully her younger son at least will not morph into a psychopath at puberty.
Having worked in in-patient settings in mental health hospitals with budding young psychopaths who went to a hospital instead of a prison at an early age for their criminal acts, because their parents had the money and insurance to send them for “help,” I too kept up unreasonable hope that my son and they would “reform.” Seldom is the case when they repeatedly defy society and their parents’ rules, knowing that sex with a 10 year old is not okay, and knowing that stealing is not okay, and knowing that physical violence against someone else is not okay, yet continue to engage in such behavior.
I hope this woman will distance herself from her son, let him go on his way, because I believe at the age of 17 if he is engaging in continuous psychopathic type behaviors and exhibiting no remorse or conscience that there is little hope for her helping him. Oh, BTW the boy has been diagnosed by a professional therapist as “without remorse, without empathy” so the woman has plenty of proof that he isn’t likely to change. I wish I could have given her hope, but facing the truth about our loved ones when they are high in the traits of a psychopath is the first hard hurdle we must move across.