Dad Writes The Perfect Response To A Student Planning A Mass Killing At His Son's School

VACAVILLE, CA - DECEMBER 17: (Editorial Use Only) William Lambie, a hospice care patient, writes his sister a letter in the hospice care wing of California Medical Facility (CMF) on December 17, 2013 in Vacaville, California. While California has a compasionate release program for terminal patients in the last six months of life, the decision is ultimately made by judges, who frequently deny the request. CMF's hospice was the first of it's kind, originally created in the 1980s during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The program currently holds 17 beds. When a patient arrives in CMF's hospice, doctors immediately apply for compassionate release. As of June 2013, California had 133,000 prisoners, of which 15,000 were over the age of 55. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, and as of 2010 the national prison population was 2.26 million people. According to Human Rights Watch, between 1995 and 2010 the total number of state and federal prisoners incresased by 42%, while the number of prisoners 55-and-older skyrocketed by 282%. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Normally when a dad interferes in a high school kid’s life, the result is groans, eye rolls, and embarrassment. But one dad’s response to a student planning a mass casualty event at his son’s school broke that norm and is now going viral for a wonderful reason. On Friday, after police in Edmond, Oklahoma, uncovered a plan for a mass killing at Edmond North High School, father and writer Charles Martin responded with a letter entitled, “To The Teen Who Planned To Kill My Son.”

The contents of the letter are different than what might be expected from a quick glance at its title. In the letter Martin is neither angry nor reprimanding, but instead remarkably compassionate and empathetic.

The first thought just goes back to what it’s like being a teenager. It’s a brutal, brutal time.
After writing the letter, Martin posted it to on the website of his small publishing company, Literati Press. The response was positive, to say the least. Within just 12 hours, the site got more than 20,000 hits. Martin’s letter struck a soft spot.

Even if what he was going to do was monstrous, he is a human being.
In the letter, Martin even went so far as to thank the 16-year-old boy who was planning the mass killing for sending the texts to his friends that eventually enabled authorities to unearth his plan. The fact that the plan did not actually come to fruition allowed Martin to be that much more compassionate, he admitted. But nonetheless, Martin’s letter is filled with the kind words and personal anecdotes that one might not expect given the circumstances.

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He commiserates with the boy about just how tough winter can be, and ponders whether those snow days spent in isolation led him to concocting his mass casualty plan. He then goes on to admit that he has “no idea what you are thinking right now,” but he wants to believe that he texted his friends about his plan because he “wanted to be caught.”

Maybe you felt yourself getting out of control and tipped your hand in hopes someone would stop you, which also makes you a bit of a hero.
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He then goes on to give the boy hope about the future. He admits that high school is “a tough place” and it often made him “angry and desperate too.” But life gets better, Martin says. College is a bright spot, he says, and even though the path forward might be “complicated and hard,” it’s worth persevering and listening to the therapists available to him at the treatment facility in which he’s currently placed.

Your path forward is going to be complicated and hard, but remember that you are not a killer. You were on a path to become a killer, but your own actions led to my son being alive today.

And for that, Martin thanks the boy. He thanks him for being brave enough to reach out to his friends for help. He thanks him for enabling a crisis to be averted and for allowing him to spend a spring break enjoying his son’s company rather than mourning his death. And then, he wishes the boy the best of luck on “the long journey of getting back to better.”

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