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The family of the man accused of opening fire on moviegoers at the “Dark Knight Rises” premiere deserves just as much sympathy as the families of the victims, experts have told USA Today.James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist who studies mass murderers and serial killers, said that while “we’re a nation of finger-pointers,” it’s misguided to assume a bad home life spurred James Holmes to allegedly gun down 12 people, USA Today reported Wednesday.
“Obviously parenting has an effect,” Fox told USA Today. “But to create this kind of outcome, the parent would have to be … a tremendously bad parent. And you generally don’t find that.”
Fox, who has previously interviewed killers’ families, said parents don’t often know about their children’s violent tendencies.
Johns Hopkins University sociologist Katherine Newman also cautioned against rushing to judge Holmes’ parents.
Parents are often “quite blind to what is happening — or they are not being shown the side of their child that turns out to be a killer,” she told USA Today.
Case in point is Susan Klebold, the mother of one of the boys who opened fire at Columbine High School in 1999, who said she was blindsided by the attack.
“I think I believed that if I loved someone as deeply as I loved him, I would know if he were in trouble,” Klebold said at the time, according to USA Today. “My maternal instincts would keep him safe. But I didn’t know. And my instincts weren’t enough. And the fact that I never saw tragedy coming is still almost inconceivable to me.”
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