Nurtured Assassins

While America is consumed with the next president, the Iraqi conflict and all things political, there's a home execution phenomenon sweeping every geographic location of this country that demands closer examination.

I spoke to my brother Bruce recently and he was telling me the story of the Pringle family, a 40-year-old mother, her 22-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, who all lived under the same roof in Mullins, S.C. The son had become so strung out on drugs, mean-spirited, dangerous and life-threatening, that the mother decided to put him out, realizing that if she didn't, their lives were in serious jeopardy.

The son returned home, within the last week, and against the advice of police officers, friends and others, she decided to take the chain off the door and allow him to enter. Without hesitation, and unbeknownst to the mother and daughter, the son was loaded up with every drug imaginable and proceeded to beat his mother, not only to the point where she was unrecognizable but to where she died on the spot. He was using his fists, feet and anything in sight. After the blood and tissue of his mother were splattered everywhere, he then turned on his sister, and beat her unmercifully; after going to the hospital, doctors were amazed that she survived the horror of the nightmare.

I've racked my brain, for the last few days trying to understand how it's possible that any child could kill his or her parent. Oftentimes, I would say it's because a father is not in the household. Then I would blame it on the media and violence on television and in the movies. Then I would try to blame it on the environment and the culture of violence, but you know what I've concluded? It's that these young people make choices, just like the rest of us, and in the end, they're the only ones who ultimately can be blamed.

Whether it's the story of the daughter who along with her boyfriend killed her entire family because the family rejected them seeing each other, or the family out of Baltimore where the son killed his parents and two little brothers, these stories continue to grow. They're no longer isolated incidents; they're becoming the norm. There's only one way to prevent this from becoming an epidemic, and that is for parents to really get to know their children. Because if you don't, someone else is more than willing to manipulate them for their own gain, which could be your own demise.


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