Yesterday, there was a horrible shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Today, the Facebook world came to life when a picture of the suspect was released. One person commented wondering why they were sharing a picture of the suspect if he’s dead and mentioned the possible humiliation to the friends and family of the suspect. As I kept reading, I came across someone who said she didn’t care if it did humiliate the friends and family. I was almost sick to my stomach at how cold and uncaring that sounded.
Is it really so hard to remember that there are many times when a person who goes over the edge and does something like this has been careful to hide what’s going on from everyone? How often is it that friends and family of criminal suspects are interviewed and they’re shocked at what has happened?
I know nothing about this man or his personal life, but let’s say he has children. Now that his name and photo are plastered everywhere, they will forever be known as the kids whose dad shot up a temple. His parents will wonder where they went wrong, their family forever tarnished by the act of one man. Why do they need to suffer for what their family member did?
Although I was steamy from seeing the comments on Facebook, I began to feel sad for them after talking to a friend of mine. I vented to her and she told me about a family who had a similar situation with different violent crime, and even though the suspect killed himself while in jail, the blow-back was enough to make his family feel they had no choice but to move out of the area. Can you imagine if you were trying to digest what someone you loved had done and then had to tear yourself away from whatever support network remained because you no longer felt welcome?
Being the family member of a criminal suspect isn’t something I would wish on anyone, but I pray that we can all learn to be a bit compassionate and remember that these families often need our love and support just as much as the families of the victims.