Eric Harris. Dylan Klebold. Thomas "T.J." Solomon Jr. Elizabeth Catherine Bush. James Scott Newman. Adam Lanza. Karl Pierson.
These names represent a small percentage of teenagers and young adults who have injured and/or killed students in school shootings over the past 15 years. The attackers came from different backgrounds and families. Some were relentlessly teased or ostracized, leading to assumptions that they finally “snapped,” taking their angst out on their peers or those they perceived to be responsible for their tangled emotions. Though some were found to be mentally ill, others took their own lives after the shootings, leaving added questions in the wake of tragedy.
The family of the latest victim, Claire Davis, gunned down at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., last month, is showing grace in the midst of the most horrific tragedy a parent could endure. The Denver Post shares the words of Claire’s father, Michael Davis, who spoke at a memorial service this week. He said he and his wife had forgiven Karl and implored others to do the same.
"Unchecked anger and rage can lead to hatred, and unchecked hatred can lead to tragedy, blindness and a loss of humanity,” Davis said. “The last thing Desiree and I would want is to perpetuate this anger and rage and hatred in connection with Claire. Claire would also not want this."
The family is turning their anguish into a call to action, with the establishment of the Arapahoe High School Community Fund in honor of Claire. The fund will support mental health care and anti-bullying initiatives, along with other school and community programs. The Davis family seems to understand the need to address the problems behind school shootings and similar tragedies. We can only hope that these programs get young people the help they need before another senseless death occurs.