CHELSEA’S LIGHT: Brent and Kelly King talk after the tragedy

by publicationarchive

One day before the four week anniversary of their daughter’s, Chelsea King’s, disappearance and murder, The Daily Aztec was fortunate enough to talk with parents, Kelly and Brent King. The Daily Aztec would like to express its gratitude to the King family for their time during this difficult period, and offers its condolences.

The Daily Aztec: Can you talk about what Chelsea’s Light is and the process of establishing it?

Brent King: We’re brand new to this establishing of a foundation. We’ve never done it before; we’ve never thought about it. So we’re still learning. But the whole goal of the Chelsea’s Light Foundation is to ensure that no child is harmed by sexual predators. That’s our aim.

DA: What is the ultimate goal of the 100,000 changemaker challenge?

BK: We want to give the community one loud, strong voice. And when I say community, I mean not just San Diego but I mean the community at large, that wants to make change to help better protect our children.

Kelly King: Also, it’s a great way to be able to gather people from all walks of life and to get across the country and the world. So it allows us to really reach out beyond our immediate community and tap into all the support and all the willingness that everyone has to help us make these changes. And to make it and kind of bring all of us together as one strong voice as opposed to individual voices.

DA: Have many people offered to volunteer with Chelsea’s Light?

KK: Yeah, we have had people from all different aspects from professional lines and in their personal lives to come and help us put this together. We’re not experts in every single thing that needs to be done and we’ve been blessed with so many people who put time to become part of the puzzle we’re assembling that will make it a really strong, really powerful force to reckon with. And we’re always looking for more, we can never have too many.

DA: What is Chelsea’s Law and what do you want to establish through it?

KK: There’s a lot of work to be done and Brent and I are working really closely with Nathan (Fletcher) and his staff to craft a law that will have a lot more weight to it if you will, and will hopefully close up some of the loopholes (in the system) …

DA: Can you explain what you mean by loopholes?

KK: Well, the fact that this happened to Chelsea, when there are supposed to be laws and legislation intact so this wouldn’t happen, means that somehow the system failed. There’s corrections to be made, there’s changes to be made, and that’s what we’re going after.

DA: Can you explain the one-strike rule?

KK: Again, that’s something that needs to be crafted, and we’re working on that with Nathan and with his group so at this point Brent and I are still learning about that process.

BK: It’s our belief that a violent sexual predator cannot be rehabilitated. And they shouldn’t be given more than one strike.

BK: It’s really important that we are able to reach the college age kids because you’re the ones that are actually going to drive this forward over the next 10 to 15 years as you vote across the country. So it’s really important that you guys have a great understanding of what we’re trying to do and why.

DA: Does it, or you, support the death penalty?

BK: Let us put it this way, we haven’t finished crafting the law yet 8212; actually, I’d better not answer that one. I can tell you from a personal position where I stand, that’s not part of Chelsea’s Law per se, I am all for the death penalty in this kind of situation. But that’s for a later date.

KK: I am in full support, and absolutely want it in this case.

DA: What is the time line of events for the bill?

BK: We would hope the legislature, once we introduce it, moves through very quickly because we want children protected today.

KK: We also know there’s many ins and outs, and we’re just hoping it’ll go through as quickly as possible.

DA: What is your reaction to the community’s outpouring of support? Did you ever think it could come together in such a way?

KK: We’ve been nothing short of amazed, overwhelmed, blessed, I don’t think anyone could imagine the type of support that we’ve received. It has been unlike anything I’ve known and I could go from now until the end of time and not express how thankful we are for everything that everyone’s done and continues to do.

BK: I can tell you that we’ve received letters from all across the country. We’ve actually received letters, or e-mails from around the world; all the way from soldiers in Afghanistan across to families in Guam, writing us beautiful letters. And what that tells you is it’s time for change. As a society, we’re all trying now to say it’s time for change.

DA: What positive outcomes, in terms of raised awareness for women, have you seen or could foresee in the future? What do you hope teenage girls will learn from stories like Chelsea’s?

BK: I will tell you that we’ve already seen some positive change with inside of California as they start to examine some of the systems and processes they have in place that failed. They’re starting to examine some of that so that’s a great start. We’ve seen … people just being much more in tune and in touch with each other. Which I think will, it’ll reflect, it already has started to reflect greatly on our local community, and it’s going to spread that people are hopefully really going to treat each other a lot better and move in that direction.

DA: In light of this month being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, have you heard of any self-defense classes available to the public?

KK: We’re living in a tunnel, so to speak right now, and so we’ve been very focused on our son Tyler and on healing and trying to get some of these changes ready to go. So, in the broader sense, being aware of what’s going on around us, not so much.

DA: What can you say about the importance of taking such classes?

BK: I think it’s very important that the community educates themselves and through awareness, and obviously, if there’s self-defense classes offered and you feel comfortable taking them, please, do it. Anything we can do on that side of it, we will support.

DA: Which events in memory of Chelsea have you attended?

BK: I’ve attended everything except the run. And I wasn’t at the run, I was with, you know we’re parents first, and my son and I had pre-planned about three months ago to go to spring training. And I just thought that could be a good break for him and I can tell you it was an incredibly painful process for me to be there and not here.

DA: What did “Finish Chelsea’s Run” and other events planned in Chelsea’s name mean to you?

BK: It means everything. It’s such an outreach from the community of trying to heal, trying to help, trying to contribute. It really actually gives us tremendous, driven hope, that not only are we going to get Chelsea’s Law passed but we’re going to change a whole lot of other things as well.

For more information on the Chelsea’s Light Foundation, please visit its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/chelseaslight.