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The father of the man charged with murdering Eurydice Dixon has taken to the media to decry the amount of abuse he’s suffered. Is he allowed our empathy?
How much is a father’s anguish worth? In the reflection of the crimes of the son, we’re not entirely sure. Yesterday, the father of Jaymes Todd, the man accused of causing the end of Eurydice Dixon took to the media to articulate the anonymous abuse that he has endured since the crime firmly lodged in our psyche.
In the wake of what his son did, the impulse to dismiss his pain comes easy. You should have seen it, why didn’t you make an effort to stop this. The collective pain is greater than his. After all, his son caused it. So, we can easily wave it off. Borderline crocodile tears. Your son is the reason for our national problem, sit down and let us speak.
The way Mr Todd has handled the afterwards speaks both of a person in high grief, and the missives emanating from his torn mind complicates our collective view of him. He offered an apology to Eurydice’s parents, but noted how futile it sounded. He castigated the acts of his son. He spoke of his own loss, then stapled the #MeToo hashtag on the end of his angst. Easy to dismiss, right? Mr Todd is worried that “he might never hug his son again”, but when that son is the nation’s foremost antagonist, someone we view as less than human, it’s easy to extend the middle finger instead of a hand of empathy.
I’m not looking to offer an obfuscation. The topic should be Eurydice, and the legitimate fears of every other woman in this country. The conversation should be about men changing their minds.
However, while that happens, heaping abuse on the father is a measure of revenge onto the son, right? He hurt us, so we’ll hurt him back. Through the prism of that, it’s easy to make the assessment that Mr Todd should have done something, and is, therefore, is within the same scope of blame as his son was. His grief is deemed invalid, because he’s also at fault. He has a responsibility to teach his children right from wrong, and he failed this.
Whichever way we want to cut it, the hell that Mr Todd walks through must be a strange one. Dealing with the fact that his own did something unspeakable, whilst mourning his victim, and questioning the boy that he raised, the one he no longer knows, wondering where he went wrong. He probably blames himself, a griefed impulse validated by 24 million furious people.
As for the question I opened this with, I’m unsure. Maybe Mr Todd doesn’t deserve our empathy. Maybe the abuse should stop, but maybe because we can get to him and not his son, it should continue.