empty treesTrue story: I woke up this morning certain it was Wednesday. So imagine my surprise when I heard it was Friday. This week has been an odd one for me and I have strangely been quieter than I would like to be. The heart of the matter is that I am scattered. Just like some quality Waffle House hashbrowns.

I started the week with a flood of emotions about the Steubenville case. I was itching to write about my feelings because I had not heard anyone say what I was thinking. I got myself all ready to write and then work deadlines happened, and car problems happened, and life, in general, just happened. What I was so anxious to write about suddenly seemed so far away.

But because I need to get this out I am going to try and (briefly) go for it now: I feel sorry for the parents of the victim. Here is the kicker though, I also feel sorry for the parents of the boys that were prosecuted. There has been this very swift animosity towards the boys that committed the crimes. I understand that. I also think it is very easy for most of us to imagine how we would feel if someone had hurt our child. It would be horrible, awful, I would be in a rage.

I think it is not as common for us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of the parents of the ones breaking laws.

I will not pretend to know completely how these parents are feeling. But here is where I access this emotionally, I am the parent to a young boy that is learning how to control his physicality when he is upset. A few months ago I used to dread picking my son up from school because there were often reports that he pushed another kid or hit a teacher. Knowing that my boy, my dear love, was capable of hurting someone was heart breaking. I felt responsible. I am responsible.

Sure my son is three and still growing into being a person, but his growing pains are mine as well.

I fear that I am not being as articulate about this as I would like to be. The bottom line is that when I heard the verdict read I felt a rush of emotions for ALL of the parents. I won’t get into whether or not the boys’ parents were in any way culpable for their child’s crimes.

Every criminal, every rapist, every person that is in prison has a mother. Not everyone had a great mother or an available mother or even a kind mother. But these people were born and someone held them. And now these someones have children that have done awful things. I mourn for their loss just as strongly as I mourn for the parents of any victim.

One of the saddest things I read this week was something that the father of one of the convicted boys said. He claimed that the first time he told his son that he loved him was on the day the verdict was read. The comments on the article where I read that are upsetting in another way. Over and over again people comment that “this happened” because one of the boys was raised by a single mother.

I just. Seriously?

This entire event was a tragedy, on every level. All of the parents in the town need help.

photo credit: Ludovico Sinz via photopin cc

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