Robbie Parker and His Critics

Many of you have probably seen this video making the rounds of a tearful, stunned, and awkward Robbie Parker speaking to press about his daughter Emilie, who was the youngest victim in Sandy Hook.

I think the beauty of his statement stands on its own, and many have noted it. I want to share some other things I noticed, however. 

The first thing I noticed is that this young father is obviously Mormon. You can tell that from his use of the word “Heavenly Father”, from the way he looks and dresses, from the fact that little Emilie, who was 6, had two younger siblings, and a variety of other queues that I picked up on and that turned out to be true.

Part of confirming the fact that he was Mormon involved doing a simple Google search for “Robbie Parker Mormon”, and I was surprised to find that the number one search result was from, a notorious and virulent anti-Mormon website. They too, had noticed that Robbie Parker had all the tells of a Mormon, and they had some things to say about it. There were a lot of pretty awful things, but a few in particular stand out from the thread:

  • Actually, I think it’s important to consider whether his statements were sincere or just “LDS induced autopilot mode” (your words, I would call it the result of brain washing). The reason is because (as another commenter mentioned above) the LDS church encourages people to use their loved one’s deaths as a vehicle for promoting the “gospel” above all else, even their own grief. It’s conceivable that some of the viewing public will see this interview, think of Mr. Parker as a great example of faith based on his statement, research his religion, and get involved in Mormonism. I know the LDS church is false (and so do you), so I don’t want that to happen. Therefore I am questioning his sincerity. – truthseeker
  • I felt that it was strange that he would be composed enough to dress himself in a suit and give a news conference. I would have thought that he would have been home with his wife and children. In addition, he has already set up a fund for donation… I only hope that he is not using this tragedy as a way to elevate himself or his religion to attain some goal. No one, no one is entitled to profit from this tragedy. – Fran
  • I do see this as ‘scripted’ and/or an automatic response, probably from his Christian or Mormon background. Why mention forgiveness to the shooter’s family? They did nothing wrong. And were they asking for forgiveness? Saying that you ‘forgive’ is an expected response from Christians/Mormons. He said he’s not angry? Of course he’s angry. But he seems to be saying this because it’s expected of one who is trying to be forgiving. He talks about Free Agency? These are Mormon key words (and possibly Christian as well)… What he is reported to have said are very likely ‘automatic’ and ‘expected’ responses by someone who is a practicing Christian and/or Mormon. – Ragnar
  • I am thinking about how his “faith” will hinder him in bonding with other parents, after all, he has the one true gospel .. right? You think he will lay that aside? I can work out this tragedy anyway I like. Reminding myself that I don’t want to react the way the church programmed me is important for my recovery…I like to remember how the church told me to spread their bullshit, keeps me happy being different – mindlight

I don’t want to make too much of this, and there were several people opposed to these comments (although a lot of them seemed to be new to the site), but coming the same day as this hit piece published by the Telegraph it’s just not a great day to be a Mormon. It’s depressing and sobering to realize how warped our view of reality can be, where literally everything we see becomes confirmation of our prejudice and even a man struggling to find some love and forgiveness and goodness in the depths of horrific tragedy becomes the object of suspicion and judgment.

These folks aren’t weird aliens. They’re also human beings.I don’t show this to make us all feel better by comparison. I show it because I think we should all be concerned that, from time to time, we do the exact same thing to a lesser degree. The moral of the story is be careful when you think a major tragedy just confirms what you already thought was most important. Do you want to end up becoming like this?

8 thoughts on “Robbie Parker and His Critics”

  1. I don’t have anything useful to add, but I will nitpick queue->cue (you’ve been around Ro and other computer scientists too long :)).

  2. First let me say this — your comments about what is taught by the LDS Church is so far off base and untrue that your little article calls for any real notice. However, I do want to make the point for you to say that a man offers up his heart to people that that is somehow he is on Auto Pilot. I just want you to know that you my dear friend stand against everything that is right in this life and in a day or so you will put down someone else that trys to stand up for the right and heal the broken hearted.

    You my dear friend are and Idoit and should go back under whatever rock you came from.

  3. Randy-

    I’m not sure who your comment is addressed too, but you’re very upset. In case there’s any misunderstanding on your part, I was excerpting from some comments which I felt were pretty terrible. Those aren’t my views. Of Robbie’s comments I said only that “the beauty of his statement stands on its own.” So if you’re anger is directed at me, I”m afraid it’s misdirected.

    If you are angry at the comments that I posted here, then you can go to the forum to vent to the people who made them. I would not recommend this because I don’t think any good will come of it, but posting an angry comment here means that they won’t even see it.

    In any case, I’m sorry that my post caused you to be upset.

  4. Now there are conspiracy theorists that say Robbie Parker and the others are actors and this tragedy never happened. They are saying it was all staged to take away peoples guns, there are videos on youtube stating these things, people are saying foul things about Robbie Parker, using foul language etc.

  5. I’ve seen that, Penny, and it is really disgusting. One of the reasons the claims are obviously false is because of the amount of work you’d have to imagine being done, for example, to fake this degree of Mormon culture. Not to mention getting a Stake President on board with the conspiracy. And why? What would it add to the realism to bring in a Mormon element?

    It makes no sense, but these wackos come out of the woodwork after every tragedy.

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