The massacre in Arizona that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including a U.S. congresswoman, has brought out many emotions in Americans. Anger and outrage are high on the list.
Yet, compassion and forgiveness are also being shown by someone who has been deeply touched by this tragedy. The husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, said he is willing to meet with the parents of the 22-year-old man accused in the Arizona shooting.
"I don't think it's their fault. It's not the parents' fault," Kelly told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an interview that aired this week. "You know, I'd like to think I'm a person that's, you know, somewhat forgiving. And, I mean, they've got to be hurting in this situation as much as anybody."
At this point it seems clear the alleged shooter is suffering with severe mental illness. There's been a lot of blame going around as to why he didn't receive better mental-health treatment and why he was allowed to buy a gun capable of inflicting this type of carnage.
There's been much discussion -- especially on the TV talk shows and talk radio -- about the need for better mental-health treatment and possible steps that should or should not be taken in changing gun laws.
In addition, a lot of attention has been focused on trying to determine how much influence heated political rhetoric had in motivating Jared Loughner to attempt to assassinate Giffords.
All this talk might someday lead to changes, particularly in treating the mentally ill, that might prevent future tragedies.
But nothing can or will be said to ease the pain being felt by the families of the victims as well as the family of the alleged shooter.
Neighbors of Loughner's parents, Randy and Amy Loughner, have said the Loughners had been crying for days and were left devastated when their only child was arrested for the killings.
"They feel guilty for what happened," neighbor Wayne Smith told a Phoenix TV reporter. "They want to know, where did they fail? I told them they didn't fail. They taught him everything about right and wrong. We all know you can teach someone everything and have no control how it works out."
Over the next few months the life of Jared Loughner and his parents will be dissected by the national media. It's going to get worse -- much worse -- for Randy and Amy Loughner before it gets better.
Most parents, regardless of their child's age, can empathize with Randy and Amy Loughner.
It was extremely compassionate of Mark Kelly to express that publicly.
Our address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
If possible, e-mail letters to email@example.com.
Letters must be less than 400 words.
All letters are subject to condensation. No more than one letter per week from any individual will be published and no more than 15 letters a year will be accepted.