|photo credit: vaXzine via photopin cc|
Late last week [now two weeks ago] the story broke about a 2-year-old boy, Tyrese Robert Doohen, being admitted to a South Dakota Hospital with severe head trauma consistent with being beaten. He was the son of Adrian Peterson, the star running back for the Minnesota Vikings and my favorite player in the National Football League. Tyrese lived with his mother and her boyfriend, Joseph Robert Patterson, and Patterson has been charged with multiple counts of assault and battery for the beating. The child’s mother was not charged. Within hours of the story breaking it was confirmed that the little Tyrese had died.
I read stories like this one all too often. I am not numb to them, but neither do they break me every time. The facts of this story are no different than those of many others, and it isn’t more tragic just because the little boy had a famous father. But that’s why it connected with me. I am a father, and I am a Vikings fan. Those two facts were enough to slip this story past my defenses and jam it up under my ribs so hard my heart actually hurt.
. . .
How then should we respond to such tragedies? My first reaction is to see perpetrators of child abuse hurt, beaten, and broken. They deserve that much and worse. But even as I think this, I know it solves nothing and offers no satisfaction. Vengeance doesn’t abate anger or pain. It offers no magic pill to heal a hurt and soothe a soul.
Maybe forgiveness is in order. Dare we ask the people closest to the child to forgive? That may be reasonable down the road, but so soon after a tragedy? I do not know.
. . .