An Open Letter
To The Mother Of A Teenage Killer

An Open Letter To The Mother Of A Teenage Killer

Oct. 25th

Dear Mom,

I confess that we have a lot in common. We are both mothers of boys who are just beginning to shave. We both live in Highland Park. We are both minorities. And we both, I think, love our sons. The difference between us is the life your son took at a supervised Highland Park house party. Last night my son lost one of his best friends - a wonderful young man filled with hope and promise - and your son killed him.

Today, dear Mom, Efren's mother and father are grieving, as I am. Today, dear Mom, you should be too. For your son is a murderer and he can know no peace until he meets the same fate, by the Law or by the Law of God.

Cradling an inconsolable mother in my arms, I wondered if you were cradling your son in your arms. Are you condoning his crime or do you even know about the horrible act of violence he committed last night? Maybe he slept late and you made him a Sunday breakfast. I just want you to know that Efren's mother cannot eat or sleep. She hasn't changed her clothes or stopped crying since she learned that her son, her boy, named after his devoted father, is dead.

Efren was only 18, dear Mom. How old is your son and how old do you think he will live to become? I know that Efren's mom and dad expected him to outlive them. Will your son outlive you? And if he does, will it be behind bars?

Dear Mom, I know that I can't do anything to bring my beloved young friend, Efren, back to us. I know that there is nothing I can say or do to console his parents. There isn't anything I can say to console you either. But maybe, by writing to you I'll inspire other moms like you to talk to their children, to check their kid's behavior and friends, to search for weapons, and to deal with any family crises that appear to be getting out of control.

I may never know your name or the name of your son, for Efren's death is just one more Highland Park homicide. Nonetheless, God bless you, dear Mom. I won't believe, until it's proven otherwise, that you are not a good mother who wanted the best for her child. What went wrong, what turned your little boy into a ruthless killer, maybe you don't even know. That's why I'm holding you in prayer. You, and the parents of a young man who brought only light and love to everyone he knew. I wish you and your son could have known Efren; I am certain that you would have loved him too.


Valerie Shaw
Parent / Friend / Community Activist / Teacher


For other works by Valerie Shaw please see:

Valerie Shaw
offerings of an urban woman