Our country is no stranger to horrific crime fueled by the criminal's tragic past. The loss of his teenage son to suicide certainly seems to have played a role for Rainer Reinscheid, the UC Irvine college professor at the heart of a suspected arson and murder plot at a California high school. The dad is accused of setting fires in an attempt to burn down the school, and that's just the beginning.
Cops said Reinscheid had a plot cooked up to murder students and school staff, commit sexual assaults, and then burn down the place where his son was once a student. It never got that far: despite fires at the University High School administrator's home, a nearby park, and the school itself, the professor was arrested before anything else happened. Coming off such a recent and devastating loss, I feel for the man. But I can't understand any of these allegations.
The police say the accused arsonist just lost his child in March. Sometime after being disciplined by school officials (for what we don't know), the boy committed suicide.
OK, you might say, so Dad was grieving. Dad snapped.
But that's just it. This father is grieving. And if the charges lodged against him are true, he intended to cause grief for hundreds more parents, wives, husbands, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends ... The list goes on.
It's the height of hypocrisy to claim that your grief somehow justifies criminal behavior. It's grief that should put the delicacy of life in perspective, should make you a champion of all that is good and safe in this world. A grieving parent may find it hard to look at happy parents -- that I can understand. And yet, they should be the fiercest protectors of other people's children.
What do you make of the accusations against Rainer Reinscheid? Do you chalk it up to grief?
Image via Samuel M. Livingston/Flickr