The Christian Science Monitor, Denver, CO — The father of a 17-year-old girl who was fatally shot at her suburban Denver high school told mourners at the girl’s memorial service that he and his wife have forgiven the killer, and he asked others to do the same.
Investigators say Karl Pierson shot Claire Davis at Arapahoe County High School on Dec. 13. She died eight days later. Pierson, 18, who was also a student at Arapahoe High, killed himself after shooting Davis.
“My wife and I forgive Karl Pierson for what he did,” Michael Davis said. “We would ask all of you here and all of you watching to forgive Karl Pierson. He didn’t know what he was doing.”
Davis said Pierson “allowed himself to become filled with anger, rage and hatred. … The fact is that Karl was so blinded by his emotions he didn’t know what he was doing.”
Here is an excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor article:
Forgiveness is often misunderstood – and some people may even condemn Mr. Davis’s remarks, believing that they excuse Mr. Pierson’s actions or are an attempt at a “quick fix” – but forgiveness “does not cast justice aside [and] when it comes to a tragedy like this, forgiveness is a long journey,” says Robert Enright, an educational psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of “The Forgiving Life.”
Davis “is not all of a sudden wrapping up all of his negative emotions in a little box … and all is well,” Professor Enright says. “He’s going to be going through a process of forgiveness…. Rage might come into the picture for him” after this initial stage where “psychological defenses” are kicking in, he speculates. “Forgiveness doesn’t wipe away pain; it helps us go through the pain in a healthy way to get to a healthy resolution.”
“Forgiveness simply means that the victim … on their own, irrespective of anything related to the offender, lets go of bitterness and resentment,” Enright says, and lets go of “the right to revenge,” by refusing to retaliate. Victims who forgive can still hold the offender accountable, but they are declaring their freedom – that they won’t be held hostage by the past or by anger, he says.
Read the full article “Father of slain girl forgives Colorado shooter. Is that helpful?” and watch a video from the memorial service.