Open letter to all the people in Waukesha, Wisconsin

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.


Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

I am taking the liberty of writing about the tragedy that happened in Waukesha, WI a couple of days ago in place of what was supposed to be Part 4 of my series on Veterans suicide. This is an open letter to all the people in Waukesha, especially the mothers or fathers or anyone that brought young children to what was supposed to be a happy and joyful occasion.
Dear People of Waukesha, WI:
The sadness of what has happened in your town is hard for anyone to put into words. While I will pray for everyone to have the strength to get through this, I will especially pray for all the children to not let this tragedy destroy everything good about the Christmas holiday season.
While we would all hope and pray that our little children would not have to learn about the harsh realities of life — especially in such a shocking and horrendous way — learn, they obviously will have to, and how we handle it since it is now upon them will do much to help them understand without having to view the Christmas season as a broken holiday.
It may turn off their feelings for celebrating Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. Perhaps the most important thing to share with children under these circumstances is that we all know and understand that some people do bad things. Some are involved in accidents and do not intend the damage that they’ve done. We’ve all had accidents of some kind, from breaking a dish or accidentally hurting a teammate in a game of sports. We apologize and hope the person whose dish we broke or the one we hurt in the game accepts our apology and the accident does not change our relationship with that person.
But sometimes sad and bad things that happen to us (or to our family or our community) are done deliberately and that is especially sad since one can only imagine the thoughts that would be living inside the person’s mind who chose to do that horrible deed. While his thoughts may have led him to commit that deed, the deed cannot go unpunished if it was deliberate. There is a huge difference between an accident and a deliberate act. And there is a huge difference between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing. The man who drove his car through the parade, having no regard at all for the damage he would do, had the mindset of someone who apparently lost the ability to choose right from wrong.
Children especially need to understand that, even through their sorrow. While they (the children) can control their actions and choose to never deliberately hurt another person, they need to know that very sadly, some people have allowed to let certain thoughts into their minds and those thoughts control the person they are and lead them to perform what they believe are “right” things to do. Unfortunately, we see that all too often on the news. Sometimes the person will admit that it was a mistake to do (whatever he did), but often it will turn out that the person is looking for some way to excuse what he has done.
That is one reason why God’s best idea was for children to have parents to guide them in their growing up years and help keep them far away from the kind of thoughts that lead to deliberately wanting to hurt or kill others. And yet, once the damage has been done, and we have suffered the sadness and the pain, along with all the others who have suffered along with us, we can only hope and pray that those who also have such thoughts will rethink them and realize that they will only be hurting themselves and all the innocent people who are not even involved with their issue. If they have even one shred of humanity still left in them, they will not feel better for what they have done — and they may end up spending the rest of their life in prison thinking about how they came to have such thoughts… thoughts that would allow them to kill others and take out their feelings on the innocent.
Yes, it’s difficult to deal with these very big issues when dealing with very young children. But if they can see that bad things happen to good people because bad people exist in the world, and bad people exist because everyone has free will (that was given to them by God) and some people choose to do all the wrong things, it will perhaps explain things in some small way. Children can understand not wanting anyone to deliberately hurt them; and if they don’t want to be hurt, they can understand that it’s just logical for others not to want to get hurt either. Hence, the golden rule is still the easiest rule to follow and likely the one that good parents teach their children.
I will especially pray for all the children who were exposed to the very sad realities of life during what was to be a happy time for
them, and for all the others — older children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and everyone who was in any way part of what was
supposed to bring happiness and joy this Sunday evening. And I will pray that all have the strength to go on, especially by helping all children everywhere, even if they’re not our own, to never have such thoughts in their heads that lead to this kind of tragedy.
God bless little children everywhere.
* * * * *
Such thoughts lead some people to think that by protesting some issue (such as a “believed-to-be” racial issue or some verdict, as in a trial) by burning down the town or destroying buildings and vehicles, that they are making a point and feel it is what they must do. What children must understand is that a verdict or an issue may be unpopular, even seemingly unfair or unjust, but 12 people thought it through the best they could and agreed on the verdict. That jury should not be criticized for the hard work they did if they did their best. (The people on the jury could have been the children’s mothers or fathers or even grandparents.) But even worse than just disagreeing with their verdict, or perhaps marching in the streets they should do to express their feelings. Even children know that houses and vehicles are innocent “victims” and destroying them and looting them only hurt the town, the community, the people who live there, and all the businesses that keep the town going. And it hurts them too.
After those who loot, and pillage, and destroy the town are done, and they have a chance to look at what they’ve done.
* * * * *
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at

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