In 2001 I lived near the town where this violence broke out and subsequently met the Wilcox’s. I wrote a commentary for the local paper sharing some of my thoughts about the violence, the gunman, and restorative justice.
I was at the hearing of Scott Thorpe as the court decided his sanity. The court’s decision would then dictate where Thorpe would be sentenced. The Wilcox’s took a position against the death penalty from the beginning which was shared with the local district attorney. There were other victims that day who died at the hands of Thorpe; the Wilcox’s position represented their own personal opinion on the death penalty. It was the first time I had attended such a hearing and it had an impact on me and how I viewed both the offender and the victims’ family members as well as the family of the offender. Here is how the local newspaper reported on the hearing.
As I thought about the Tucson, Arizona gunman Jared Loughner I remembered Scott Thorpe. Could this violence have been prevented? What do we do with the victims of violence and those family members who remain after the violence? Do we remember them? How are they to heal and move forward after such random violence?
In the case of Scott Thorpe and in the memory of Laura Wilcox, Amanda and Nick have chosen to fight to reduce gun violence and to seek to address the issue of guns in the hands of the mentally ill in their community and in the state of California. I think their story should be told and their work remembered. Hopefully we can learn.
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