John Moore says: My first column for The Denver Gazette will be a difficult read for some. It’s my attempt to reconcile the 13-year-old I designated as a “Can’t Miss Kid” after his performance in a youth production of “Grease” with the 18-year-old STEM School murderer. Part of the tragedy of his story is that, for whatever reason, theatre could not save Devon Erickson the way it has saved so many thousands of others. Like me.

By John Moore, Denver Gazette | When you’re in your scary high school years, theatre can be a home. A place to belong. A place where freaks and geeks and free spirits and dorks and goths and occasionally even jocks come together, and no one is considered “an other.” Because in theatre, we’re all “others.”

Read more on Devon Erickson – a young man whose life went horribly wrong somewhere along the line:

John Moore: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742449508
American Theatre magazine: https://www.facebook.com/AT.magazine/

Marilyn Welsh: Just an incredible column, John. As a developmental psychologist, it is so important to try to understand all the forces, biological and environmental and the constant interactions, that can lead to this horrific end…but also to the many less dramatic but also tragic journeys that so many youths take on the way to adulthood.

Sandy Lyons: A truly amazing story, John! For me and possibly like many others, it is difficult to wrap my head around this… as I too took part in the drama programs in high school and understand the importance of being involved in the Theatre. But, as I watched the news reels showing a neighborhood that I raised my own kids in and lived in for 20+ years… in addition to seeing a building in the background of a company that I work for and one of my own young sons also employed there… all the while I get an all points Email from said company to “stay put… active shooter in the area”… feeling absolutely helpless… as I am in Arizona but my son is right there… in visual sight of the building where all the danger was… then to find out the fact that the only person (HERO [Kendrick Castillo]) shot and killed… I went to high school with his father, gave me an entirely different and helpless feeling… It’s difficult to see this story from so many sides… both inside and out.

Jenna Wilcox: I was in a show with Devon. Members of my family were in that building that day. To say I am conflicted, confused and sad about this still is an understatement. He was a kid when I knew him. He was talented and shy. He was kind and respectful at every moment while we worked together. I find myself looking for the kid I saw years ago when I see him in these images from the courtroom. This tragedy still haunts me.

Meg Schomp: What a tragedy for all, including this sensitive young man who was hurting so much in his own skin. I respect your compassion and sadness in telling this story. Could have been any of our children, both perpetrators and/or victims of the pressures and pain of adolescence.


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