In the time since the tragic death of one of our children at the unwitting hands of his family, I have heard many outpourings of concern, including supplications at my church’s healing service.

What I am impressed not to have heard is the normal, knee-jerk reaction to inexplicable tragedy — that of ostracism of those involved.

In order to psychologically protect oneself from the same horrific thing, a difference between the self and the victim must be found; a wall, a separation.

What may be valuable later on to a family is a book full of stories like theirs: “Fatal Moments: The Tragedy of the Accidental Killer,” especially the chapter on family stress.

I know this book because I wrote it. You can get it on

Other than my prayers and the shared experience contained in “Fatal Moments,” I don’t know what to offer. I mention the book because it is surprisingly hard to get anyone who has had this experience to talk about it. During 11 years of writing, I never was able to find anyone who would talk other than the original 250 who volunteered by writing a letter.

Advice is not called for in a case like this. Only listening.

Gwendalyn Gilliam

Incline Village