West Chester-based attorney James Kimmel Jr. — a renowned author and academic lecturer — has spent the last 20 years researching and writing about preventing murder.
It’s an issue that hits home for Kimmel, who leads the Healthcare Law Practice Group at Buckley, Brion, McGuire & Morris. He grew up in central Pennsylvania, and almost succumbed to a moment of blind rage that would’ve forever changed more lives than just his.
“I grew up on a farm, but my folks weren’t farmers,” Kimmel writes on his personal website. “Since we didn’t earn our living from the land, I wasn’t accepted by the neighboring farm kids. Years of escalating bullying, harassment, and intimidation followed. One night, this culminated with a group of them staging an attack on my home and shooting and killing one of our dogs while asleep in her pen.
“The police did nothing. A week later, after another nighttime attack when they blew up our mailbox, I went chasing after them with my father’s loaded .32 caliber revolver in my car. I cornered them against a barn. When they got out of their truck in the darkness with the high-beams of my car focused on them, I grabbed the revolver from the passenger seat.
As he imagined how good it would feel to get his version of justice, Kimmel had a startling moment of unexpected clarity at the very last second.
“I thought of everything I would be giving up if I pulled the trigger — and everything I would be taking from them too,” he writes. “Somehow, miraculously, despite all of the pain I had endured, I realized at that moment that the price of getting revenge was just too high. I took my hand off the gun and drove home.”
The decision has undoubtedly shaped the rest of his life.
As a social theorist who focuses on the intersections of law, psychology, and spirituality, Kimmel researches violence prevention, justice addiction, motive control, nonjustice studies, and mental health peer support services. He has created a website, SavingCain.org, in an effort to save lives by offering support, resources, and compassion to those considering murder and mass shootings.
Given how the headlines are dominated by news of mass violence, the website, which draws parallels between the story of Cain and Abel from the Bible and today’s current events, has the potential to save lives, including your own.
“Although there are a number of suicide prevention websites aimed at helping people understand and overcome the desire to kill themselves, I could find no homicide prevention website aimed at helping people understand and overcome the desire to kill others,” Kimmel writes. “In light of the wave of gun violence gripping our nation, that needed to change. In addition to gun control, we should be talking more about motive control. If people are going to have guns, we must provide resources and support for overcoming the desire to use them to commit murder.”
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