Magazine article Newsweek

One Father's Unique Perspective

Magazine article Newsweek

One Father's Unique Perspective

Article excerpt

Just over a year ago, truckdriver Scott Johnson got the call that his son Mitchell had gone on a school shooting spree in Jonesboro, Ark.

I was driving my truck through Salt Lake City last Tuesday afternoon when I heard the awful news from Littleton, Colo., on the radio. I immediately pulled over and set up my satellite dish, tuning in to CNN. The images and descriptions were all too familiar to me. Just over a year ago I was driving my rig through Dallas when the radio broke in with news of a school shooting in Jonesboro, Ark. I had two boys in that school and frantically called the administrator on a pay phone to find out where they were, and if they were all right. A moment later, an Arkansas State Police officer was on the line. I will never forget the horror of the words I heard next: my 13-year-old son, Mitchell, was involved.

Scott Johnson

Sitting in the back of my truck last week, looking at the faces of students and parents whose lives would never be the same again, I was overcome by the awful knowledge of what they were going through. Many of the parents of the children who were hurt or killed are probably feeling a vague sense of guilt, though there was nothing they should have--or could have--done to prevent this from happening. And that is what makes tragedies like Littleton and Jonesboro so frightening. To think anyone so young could create this kind of havoc, to be so callous about other people's lives, strains the imagination and makes us wonder and worry about what we are becoming as a country and a society.

It is even harder to imagine when the person who caused so much pain is your own child. I have such empathy for the parents of the troubled boys in Littleton. The boys who felt killing was, somehow, their only option. What could possibly have been going through their heads? …

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