Embrace this family, embrace your own

There is no earthly antidote for the pain visited upon the Revelus family. The bloody rampage by Kerby Revelus that senselessly wiped out two young lives —Bianca and Princesse— and necessitated the loss of a third— Kerby’s — at the hands of police officers is a tragedy of unprecedented proportions for this community.
Yet, while we all empathize and pledge to support this family, the real cross will be borne by the parents and the surviving siblings. We know this from our own lives: The grief of a loss so near to us is ultimately a private affair. Once the throngs of visitors have slowed, once the dead are buried and the phone calls and food platters slow to a trickle— the real work begins.
Our role, then, as a community must turn to our own homes. What can be done today to prevent the next tragedy in our midst? Could this sort of heinous crime be repeated someday? The difficult answer is, yes, it may very well happen again.
It has happened before. We recall the Dorchester mother, unwell and untreated for mental illness, who killed her own children in a neighborhood basement before she was herself laid low by police bullets just a few years ago. There are outrageous acts of mass murder in the news daily.
The facts of the Revelus case are not yet clear. Yet common sense tells us that no sane person would attempt to massacre his family and do what Kerby Revelus did to his sisters.
Those of us who believe in God rightfully turn to him for answers and relief. But we must also be honest with ourselves, confront the demons in our own families and attempt to get our loved ones the medical help they need.
One Haitian community leader recalled to us the words of Milton Police Chief Richard Wells — a good man who has led his police force with dignity through this awful period. When asked what they could do in those first, terrible hours after the crime, Wells simply answered: “Go home and hug your kids.”
No one is immune from the threat of domestic violence. No one can handle mental illness alone. We all know in our hearts where we need to focus. Let’s get to work on ourselves and dedicate that work to the memory of Bianca, Princesse, and, yes, Kerby.
Bill Forry, April 2009