The Denver Post has a compelling interview with a wounded victim of the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre.
The stirring opening of the story:
AURORA — One of the victims in the Aurora theater shooting said Wednesday he’s already forgiven the suspect in the rampage, James Eagan Holmes, and hopes to speak with him someday.
“Of course, I forgive him with all my heart. When I saw him in his hearing, I felt nothing but sorrow for him — he’s just a lost soul right now,” said Pierce O’Farrill. “I want to see him sometime. The first thing I want to say to him is ‘I forgive you,’ and the next is, ‘Can I pray for you?’”
Before reading the rest, what basic questions do you expect this report to answer?
I want to know what the victim believes. I want to know why he feels compelled to forgive the gunman. I want to know specific details about his religious affiliation and faith background.
Does the story answer these questions to my satisfaction?
Readers learn that the victim works for the Denver Rescue Mission (but his specific role and duties go unexplored). Then there’s this:
On Sunday, the deeply religious man said he’ll tell his story during three services at the Edge Church, based in Liberty Middle School in Aurora.
Is O’Farrill a Christian? One would assume so, although the story never uses that term or provides any background on the Edge Church.
Later, there’s this riveting scene involving O’Farrill and another shooting victim:
In the aftermath of the shooting in which 12 people were killed and 58 wounded, Pourciau and O’Farrill found themselves on adjoining stretchers waiting for treatment. Because their injuries were deemed non-life-threatening, the two spent much of the time in a corner speaking about what had transpired. At some point, O’Farrill asked for a Bible and started reading. Soon, Pourciau asked if he would read some scriptures aloud to her.
“I was so happy I found a believer,” she said.
A believer in what? I’m really not trying to be facetious. As the narrative rolls on, readers learn that the two victims “share a bond” and sang “Amazing Grace” together.
The story ends this way:
“When he stood above me I felt that evil presence. He fired a couple more shots and the truth is, at that moment I thought I was going to die. But God came in, and all of a sudden the killer just decided to stop.”
Again, I ask: Why does O’Farrill feel compelled to forgive the man who shot him? Presumably, it has something to do with his faith.
Image of Pierce O’Farrill (left) via edgechurchaurora.com