Phyllis Ferguson, mother of the Chardon High School shooting victim Demetrius Hewlin, told ABC News that if she had the chance to talk to suspected gunman T.J. Lane, “I would tell him I forgive him because, a lot of times, they don’t know what they’re doing. That’s all I’d say.” (ABC news site)

This interview appeared on a TV network news broadcast. Phyllis Ferguson, whose son was murdered, spoke these words calmly and serenely. Her stoic presence along with the impact of her words affected my usual nonchalant reaction to what I deemed as yet another ‘sensationalism take on a news story’. Instead of changing the channel, I sat on my couch, watched the remainder of the interview, and cried.

Ferguson’s son, Demetrius, along with several other students, was shot while socializing amongst friends in their school’s cafeteria. Some of the students survived while Demetrius and two others died in the hospital. The apprehended gunman, a student also at the same school is now awaiting trial.

The crime was horrific, the scars left on the survivors, and those who knew the victims are incomprehensible in my view.  I have not lost someone to a violent crime and pray it will not happen. The teenage gunman, acted alone, heartless and calculatingly cruel in his decision to arrive at school that day with the knowledge he would terminate and cripple lives. Who made him GOD? What right did, He, posses to execute and extinguish lives? The entitlement and judgment were his alone and I feel anger towards him, balancing on hatred, without the knowledge of his background story. I am judging a person I do not know.

A mother lost her son to murder and had justification to hate the shooter and to speak ill of him and his family. Instead of doing so, Phyllis Ferguson chose to not let hate fester within her. She chose to forgive and in doing so allowed the memories of her son to remain pure in her heart not overshadowed by hatred or worse yet, to allow the hatred to fester within the memories of her son. Now when she reflects on her son, she can relate to pure memories instead of memories tainted of her son with the afterthought of the shooter.

I admire Phyllis Ferguson, for her strength, courage and faith. Her actions, in a time of emotional trauma exemplify true Christianity. Thank you Phyllis Ferguson and God Bless.

“I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine. You have to forgive everything. God’s grace is new each and every day”.-Phyllis Ferguson



Mom, my mom, loves to quote scriptures. Stories of revenge on the news and she will say, “You see, the Lord said ‘an eye for an eye’.” Mind you, for mom it does not matter if the person taking the revenge was the one who started the whole thing in the first place, received a reciprocal blow from the other and instead of allowing it to end, decided they had to have the last word.

Mom’s interpretation of bible scriptures is conducive to whatever mood she may be in at the time. The power of the words written by the all knowing from above is all she needs. Like whip cream on top of bread pudding her usage of the scriptures solidifies her point. Bible passages are converted to validate her opinions and predictions. The interpretations of the best theologian scholars have no merit and forget the thousands of hours these scholars spent researching and dissecting. Mom’s interpretations are set in stone-figuratively not literally, for she lacks the strength to hold a chisel and is not related to Moses-the movie kind of Moses, i.e. Charlton Heston, where the hand of God writes in stone tablets.

“Living is giving. All things would die if only receiving” is a favourite quote of mom’s, my mom, used frequently throughout my childhood into adulthood. When asked about the origins of the quote, she will swear it is from the bible. Using the phrase verbatim during a search in Google as well as the enlisted research skills of friend did not lead to any hits on the internet to prove this. So its origin remains a mysteriously (unless someone reading this can verify where it actually stems from).

“Living is giving. All things would die if only receiving”, mom will say when someone is complaining about someone else’s selfishness and that someone complaining is usually me. I get it, I think.

One must be able to give in order to live. What is the definition of “living”? Day struggles or conquering the world? What exactly are we to be “giving”? Money, volunteering, time, presence? We give, we live, we live, and we give. What happens when we give too much and others are content receiving too much? What happens is we give too little? Are the receivers aware that the giving is too little? If I give and do not receive, can I justifiably be angry or resentful?