A disturbing trend seems to have surfaced in recent months: solving your family troubles by murder.
I know some are following the Karen McCarron trial, where an Illinois doctor admitted killing her daughter to end her family’s pain caused by living with a child with autism. But this is by no means the only one, and certainly not in the last week. Yesterday on CNN.com, I saw stories where a father threw his four children off a bridge with the intent to kill them; another father was charged with burning his wife and children in a house fire; the body of a female Marine and her unborn child was unearthed in another Marine’s backyard; two beautiful teenaged girls murdered in an “honor killing” in Texas.
What is wrong with people?!
We all have frustrations day to day just because life is hard, and certainly in families of children with special needs there are ample frustrations to make parents seek help and answers. When could murder ever be the right answer? I can’t even imagine.
There is a system, flawed as it may be, to handle broken families. Family courts can place children in foster care while parents get help, if necessary–not the best possible option, but much better than self-help, if these parents are any example. Divorce court or access to protective orders can separate parties in potentially dangerous situations. Psychological help is available–free if you can’t afford it–to aid families in crisis. Is it really easier to pick up a gun than a phone?
I’m fortunate that I haven’t lost a client or a client’s family member to a vindictive spouse. Colleagues of mine in town have, and I feel for them. Family members and friends of the murder victims may wonder, “Isn’t there something we could have done?”
All we can ever do is provide someone in crisis with alternatives, options and support. This applies whether the person is mentally ill, alcoholic, or a victim of abuse. Help that is imposed on a person from outside doesn’t change the person. Only when that person takes charge of his or her own destiny, realizes he or she can cope with the situation facing them, and takes positive steps to improve their life will there be real progress, success and safety for family members.
Let’s all make a pledge to be open to those who are so troubled they are prepared for drastic action. If they need someone to listen, let’s listen. If they need us to make a phone call, let’s do it. Let’s save the children, while we still can.