Gretchen CrooksWhen we are little kids, we ask why because we want everything to make sense. But the older I get, the more I'm realizing some things are so disturbing there is no explanation. And in cases like that of Noah Crooks, the 13-year-old who police say tried to sexually abuse his own mother, then shot her to death, I don't think I want an explanation.
Mental health experts are calling the shooting of Gretchen Crooks "out of the norm" for human behavior. Usually when there's sex abuse among kids, they say, it's juvenile on juvenile. And matricide -- mother readers will be happy to know -- remains rare.
Call me crazy, but I think I'm OK leaving it right there. I'm OK with "out of the norm." Why? Well, let's talk about the Noah Crooks case, shall we?
Gretchen Crooks was a 37-year-old mother of two living in Iowa with her husband and son Noah. She was a nurse with a bachelor's degree who was working on her master's degree. That son, Noah, is 13. He's an eighth grader who played the sax and was recently accepted into a college program to learn Chinese.
They sound like a very normal family. Except that police say Noah tried to sexually abuse his mom, then took his .22 caliber gun and shot her before calling 911, calmly (they use the word stoic) announcing that he'd shot her.
If that were "in the norm," folks, what the heck would that say about our country? Really?
I'm not saying I don't want the experts to figure out what happened to this kid and his mom. My heart breaks for the dad here and Gretchen's remaining son; they need answers and closure.
But this is one of those stories in life so disturbing that it's simply impossible to put into the context of everyday life and try to make the answers fit. I think we can bypass why and go straight on to hoping it remains "out of the norm." Here's more on the case if you're curious, including why he's being charged as a juvenile:
What in life have you given up on trying to find the answer to and just accepted that some things will never be explained?
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside