There are so many people we feel for after learning that Elliot Rodger murdered six innocent people in a shooting spree that took place last weekend in Santa Barbara. We can't get over the pain felt by the parents of the victims, whose lives have obviously been forever altered by one random, senseless act of violence. And, of course, we can't stop thinking about all of those young people who had their entire lives ahead of them and are now dead simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But there are two people we probably aren't thinking of who also deserve our empathy: Elliot's parents. Some of us desperately want to blame them for this tragedy because their son committed suicide and isn't here to accept the consequences of his deadly actions. But Chin and Peter Rodger, who recently spoke out about the shootings, are beyond distraught over what their child did.
A good friend of Rodger's parents told ABC News that they are mourning for the victims of the massacre, which include 13 others who were seriously injured. Their "speech is now stuttered," according to Simon Astaire.
The Rodgers didn't rely on their friend to speak for them. They released a statement to the news station that read as follows:
We are crying in pain for the victims and their families. It breaks our heart on a level we didn't think possible. The feeling of knowing that it was our son’s actions that caused the tragedy can only be described as Hell on earth.
We know that Elliot's parents, one of whom is a film director who worked on the Hunger Games, were aware of his issues and sent him to numerous therapists when he was a child. They realized he had anger problems and had him placed on medication, including Xanax. After viewing the terrifying videos he made, Elliot's mother called police and tried to get help for her son two months ago, but he was deemed not a danger to anyone.
His parents did what they could. They are in pain and deserve our empathy. They are going to live with their "hell on earth" for the rest of their lives, and it's heartbreaking to think this may not have happened had their pleas for help for their son been taken more seriously.
Do you feel empathy toward Elliot's parents?
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