James Eagan Holmes Aftermath: Mother of Shooter Wondering What Happened to Her Son


It is not my intention in any manner, to minimize or dismiss the depth of tragedy and loss experienced by the families and friends of the Aurora, Colorado shooting victims.

The onslaught of horrific and tragic events such as the recent Aurora shootings leaves countless victims in their wake. Such incomprehensible actions impact the actual victims, their families, friends, and community. However, there are other less recognized victims - those without a universal voice. They are the silent ones.

The silent ones wrap themselves in pain and agony that most likely stretches human endurance. For these suffering souls there is no comfort of shared supportive pain and sense of community. Most likely they receive few condolences other than family, no nighttime vigil or unity prayers. They suffer in insulation and isolation from a world that thinks of them with questioning and wonder; how could they not have seen or noticed something was wrong. Most likely these very different and unique victims suffer from unbearable feelings of guilt, responsibility and shame.

These unacknowledged and voiceless victims are family members of the assailants in such unspeakable crimes against humanity. James Eagan Holmes left his mother, his father, and his sister to shoulder the pain, loss and suffering his carnage inflicted upon his fellow human beings.

When I first learned of the recent shootings I sensed a gentle nudging from my mother. When stories like this appeared in New York, such as the “Son of Sam” killings, my mother would invariably say: “I cannot help but think of that person’s mother at a time like this. What must she feel knowing her child did such horrible things? What does she and her family do with their pain?”  

My mother readily acknowledged how fortunate and blessed she and my father were to have eight children whom she lovingly referred to as “good kids.” But is such tragedy the simple result of good vs. bad? I think not. Somewhere these assailants placed their steps on a very dark and sinister path, a  path removed from sanity and normalcy.

How does the mother and family of such an assailant deal with the aftermath of such heinous crimes? It must be a lonely desperate place they find themselves.

Perhaps Mrs. Holmes, her family, and families that are subject to such tragedy reflect: 

Never did I ever think the small child that played at my feet would someday cause the world such grief.

Never did I ever think my dear child with his beautiful smiling face would lead us all to a place absent from all human dignity and grace.

Where did you go and what did we miss that brought us all to this tragic abyss? 

Are we your family in part to blame for this horrific nightmare that has no name?

Does anyone see us?  Can anyone hear the silent agony we too must bear?

I only ask you to consider taking a moment or two to ponder, as my loving mother did: What about the mother and family of the person responsible for such horrific acts?

Perhaps you could allow your mind and spirit a slight shift and think of Mr. & Mrs. Holmes and their daughter. Perhaps you could send them thoughts of loving kindness, peace, comfort and compassion. The positive energy we chose to give to the universe the universe will return to us.