Hard Lesson to Swallow


July 23, 2012 by Melissa

I admit that I was pretty judgmental of the parents that had their kids in tow at the Batman premier in Colorado last weekend. In the aftermath of all that carnage, that was what I focused my attention on. Blaming the victims. How ridiculous and shameful of me. There are several things wrong with this mindset.

First of all, I think I wanted to believe that there is some level of control over such random acts of violence. That because I wouldn’t have made that particular decision, we would have been safe. Or if there were other safety nets in place, the event would have been prevented. Better gun laws, more mental health interventions, even an alarm that would have tripped on that back door after being propped open too long. I don’t know if it could have been prevented and that’s a scary thing to consider. That I don’t have control, especially over the safety of my kids, is tough to consider.

Second, how dare I judge other parents, especially in a situation like this? I’ve read an article recently in Slate about some of these parents. One couple hadn’t been out together in months and didn’t have family or close friends in the area to help them. They thought their baby would be okay this one time. They had been looking forward to this movie for a while and chanced it. Is it any different from letting our kids stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve or going to a Harry Potter release party? Or even getting up very early to go fishing or view a meteor shower? Just because it’s not something important to my family, doesn’t mean it’s not important to another’s. I feel horrible about having these thoughts and want these families to grieve in peace without my misled opinions. Would I be prepared to defend my decisions every day to an angry public? Probably not.

Finally, judging other parents, regardless of circumstances, makes a tough job tougher. These poor families deserve my condolences at the very least. I’m including the parents of the accused in this. Would any family believe their son or daughter would be capable of such a thing? We all question our decisions and our methods, we don’t need random strangers doing it for us.

I hope I’ve reformed my snap judgments, at least a little.

One thought on “Hard Lesson to Swallow

  1. I don’t think the parents deserve any particular blame here–the killer could just as easily have decided to take action at a matinee of a children’s movie. But I do think that a movie theater at midnight is NOT an appropriate place for a baby or small child, especially a PG-13 or R rated movie. I’ve thought about this issue prior to this incident when I’ve seen parents take small kids to these late night shows, especially violent ones. What child needs to watch fantasy violence or sex? Parents are asking for nightmares if they take kids to that kind of movie. And children need sleep as they need food. Also other people have paid $12 and up to watch the movie, and they don’t need a crying baby or tantrumming toddler to interrupt them. If you can afford a full-price movie, you can afford a babysitter. If you don’t have family close (and we don’t), you can swap with friends or find a reliable teenager. If you don’t feel comfortable with any of those options, stay home, put the kids to bed and watch Netflix! Your kids are small for such a short time, and I think our society has conditioned us that we don’t have to deny ourselves anything, but sometimes parenting requires sacrifices. It is certainly NOT the parents’ fault that this tragedy occurred, but I do think taking a baby or small child to a midnight adult/teen movie is not a wise parenting choice in general.

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