An Alberta father whose son was killed in a school shooting says the community of La Loche must learn to forgive before they can heal from the recent tragedy.
Dale Lang’s 17-year-old son Jason was killed on April 28, 1999, just a week after the Columbine massacre, when an armed teen walked into W. R. Myers High School in Taber, Alta., and opened fire. Another student was critically wounded.
Following Friday’s shooting in La Loche, Lang said he understands the feelings many of the northern community’s residents are experiencing.
“When you go through such a shocking, horrible, painful moment like this … it’s hard. It’s normal people get angry,” he said.
Lang and his family forgave the shooter at his son’s memorial, but at the time, he didn’t realize the positive impact it would have him.
“The place of forgiveness is really important because it brings us to that possibility of beginning to heal from the wounds we’ve experienced,” Lang said. “If you get stuck in that place of bitterness and anger, it doesn’t do anything to the person you’re angry at, it just keeps damaging you and your family.”
Lang’s message echoes the pleas of the family of the two brothers killed in La Loche to forgive the accused teen and not blame the family.
Lang said he also hopes the teen shooter can get help to “get his life straightened out.”