Friday Jan. 17, 2014
Does the family of the gunman in Wednesday's shooting deserve sympathy?
In a feed on Shawn Bair's Facebook page -- before it was removed late Thursday afternoon -- those posting found reason to deride his family, wondering whether his upbringing were somehow to blame in the incident. Since some of the material on his Facebook page indicated an interest in serial killers and a seeming preoccupation with violence, others wondered why Bair wasn't tagged earlier to get help.
Some used the feed simply to sound off against Bair, while others expressed sympathy for his family, saying they must be suffering in the aftermath of the shootings.
Following is a sampling of the postings. They were made on Thursday, after Bair, 22, was identified by authorities as the gunman who killed two women at a Martin's Super Market in Elkhart. Elkhart police, called to the scene, subsequently shot and killed the man.
The posts, all of them public, were made in response to a public July 29, 2013, entry by Bair on his Facebook page, one of the last entries. I copied them before his Facebook page was deleted, but I'm leaving out the identities of posters.
- "Burn in hell for eternity [...]"
- "This dudes page is sick and WHERE THE HELL WERE HIS PARENTS when he was posting these discuting photos and talking about murder for the last 3 years. CHARGE THE DAMN PARENTS!!!!"
- "how does this go unnoticed by people honestly it gives me chills coming here and reading what I am. someone should have at least contacted someone about this maybe it would have been taken care of and the result that happened would be different 2 people could possibly still have their life if one person would have spoken up about this before hand... im disgusted"
- "Yep here we go with that I'm the perfect parent mentality." [...]
- "Praying his friends don't do this, and hoping their parents open their eyes too!"
- "unless you knew him personally...and/or know personally his parents and other family members...no person should be disrespecting them.....we DO NOT know what went on in his troubled mind...nor do we know if, in fact, his family DID try to get him help....we are all just assuming things... Also, please put yourselves in their place...his mother, father, sibling....how DEVESTATED they must be and then to see and read these HATEFUL comments......HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE ONE OF HIS FAMILY?"
- "Praying for his family. And praying for everyone involved and their families and friends too. Thats what's wrong with this world now days to much hatred and not enough love. I'm saddened by this but its an eye opener for me. Take this horrible situation and make something positive outta it. Teach ur children, friends whoever if they see anything this disturbing on peoples fb or in conversation DONT stay quiet about. Rather be safe than sorry later."
- [...]people have every [deleted] right to say what they want to say hes a criminal who took innocent lifes"
Authorities haven't publicly sounded off on the state of Bair's mental health.
In an interview with the Elkhart Truth, meanwhile, the mother of one of the victims Wednesday expressed a measure of sympathy for the gunman's family. "His family's loss is as important as mine,” said Juanita Whitacre, mother of Krystle Dikes.. “There are three people who died and their families have all had a loss.”
Bair killed Dikes and Rachelle Godfread, 44, before Elkhart police killed him, according to authorities.
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-296-5884. Visit him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.