More details are coming out on the meeting between Adam Lanza's dad and the parents of one of his victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Peter Lanza sat down with Robbie and Alissa Parker who lost their little girl, Emilie, to talk about what his son did. But in perhaps the most surprising revalation about the conversation to come out on CBS News, what was talked about is being overshadowed by how it happened.
You see, the Parkers were the first (and as yet seemingly the only) family Peter Lanza chose to meet with. So why them? What made this family, out of more than 26 innocent dead (not including Lanza's ex-wife, Nancy), so special?
It all comes down to a little something called human kindness.
When Robbie Parker spoke out to the media in December about his family's suffering, he extended the olive branch to Peter Lanza, making sure to note that his sympathies lay with the shooter's family.
It was a monumental gesture in a climate that was (and in many ways still is) seething with unbridled hate. Lesser men than him may not have been able to bring forth such compassion, and one couldn't blame them. The loss of a loved one does things to us that we can't foresee. The loss of a child, suddenly, at 6, at the hands of a madman, is unthinkable.
But so many months later, we see the impact that one small gesture has had.
Peter Lanza spoke to these parents because they were kind to him. He felt he owed them a similar kindness.
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So what did they talk about? Apparently we'll know soon enough. The Parkers said more will come out about Adam Lanza and why he did what he did.
But as it does, as we react, as we continue to make sense of what to do next, be it with gun laws or treatment of mental illness, it would behoove us all to temper our anger with compassion, with some respect for the humans in all of this. We can angrily tear down doors to get what we want. Or we can unlock them gently with some respect.
The benefit to the latter is they can be closed back up again when the time comes. It's not so easy to do the same when you've torn something down.
Let's take our cues from the Parkers, who have found it in their hearts to have sympathy for Peter Lanza and Nancy Lanza too ...
Watch the Parkers talk about their meeting with Peter Lanza:
Are you inspired? What do you think it will take for him to talk to other parents?
Image via CBS News
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside