“My son is dead. I want someone to pay for this.”

The title of this post is the cri de coeur of a father whose son died in his arms.  We can all sympathize with how he feels — except that it gets a little more complicated when you read the story about how his son died.  You see his son, armed with a gun, and an accomplice, armed with a knife, tried to rob a 21 year old man at a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, a robbery accompanied by threats to kill the victim.  The victim fought back and, in the melee, managed to inflict a fatal stab wound on the assailant holding the gun:

A 23-year-old visitor from the East Coast had just gotten money from an ATM when he told his friend on a cell phone that he had a bad feeling about two men approaching him at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland.

His worst fears were realized when one suspect, Victor Veliz, 18, held a folding knife with a 5-inch blade to his neck and the other, Christopher Gonzalez, 18, threatened to shoot him Thursday night, authorities said.

In a blind panic, he lashed out at his attackers, grabbing the knife from one of them and punching the other as his friend listened in horror on the phone.

Without realizing it, authorities say, the man stabbed Gonzalez in the chest. Gonzalez stumbled to his family’s home around the corner, collapsed into his father’s arms and died.

The victim immediately turned himself in and is not being charged.  He was upset to learn that, in defending himself, he killed a man.  The dead man’s father is upset too, but not that his own son’s wayward conduct brought about his death.  Dad is upset that the victim dared defend himself:

Javier Gonzalez sobbed at the loss of his son, who worked with him in his roofing business and at Oakland Raiders games.

“I’m angry at both of them,” he said of the robbery victim and Veliz. “They took my son away from me. He was a hard-working kid.”

He added, “My son is dead. I want somebody to pay for this.”

Dad gets something of a pass here, because I can’t imagine the horror of having my son die in my arms.  Nevertheless, I still find it unnerving, at a deep cultural level — a level about personal responsibility — to hear a man laud as a hard-working kid the son who tried to rob a man at gun and knife point, while blaming the real victim for defending himself against this murderous assault.  I can understand blaming the dead guy’s compatriot (you know, “his friends led him down the wrong path”), but to blame an innocent victim of a felonious crime hacks me off.