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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”