Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Mother Responds to Another School Shooting

In light of my post on "A Call to Anguish" yesterday, I have prayed fervently for the victim of the school shooting, the shooter, the students, the families, and the administrators this morning at Central High in Knoxville. Yes, my son attends now a Knox County High School, which added urgency to my petition. Other high schools were put on lock down. I'll find out this afternoon, if Peace shared in that lock down experience. Occasionally he calls me during lunch, and I hope he does today.

Sometime around when Buck and I decided to put our son in public school, a friend casually mentioned lock down as a possibility. I freaked that day saying, "What the heck is lock down? What are students asked to do? Why exactly does the school lock down? What do parents do in the case of lock down when I can imagine all they can think about doing is driving to snatch their children from the jaws of death?" Thankfully, our conversation gave me time to get answers to those questions before today.

As I listened to the news this morning, parents were rushing to Central High School to find their children, yet they were being turned away. The perimeter of the school had been sealed. A nearby church across the road opened a shelter to take families in as they waited, and the school officials gave updates there. Buck dropped off Peace around the time we heard the first report. The shooting occurred in the cafeteria, the place where students hung before school began. I wondered about the students who witnessed this callous act of murder. How will they feel about returning to the cafeteria or even school at all in days to come? A witness said something like this, "The shooter walked into the cafeteria right up to his victim, shot a boy in the chest, and walked out leaving the victim in a growing pool of blood with no remorse."

I thought about the hesitant hands, mops, buckets which have cleaned or will clean up that crimson crime scene. I considered the vulnerable and frail humanity of the principal, and the work of healing of a multitude he or she will have to undertake in the next while. I mulled over the fear of parents asking themselves, "Could it be my son?" I hurt for the parents who have lost the child they once held in their arms, diapered, and bathed. I speculated about the police persons on duty handling hostile, angry, and scared crowds. I pondered the teachers who have gone home this morning shaking their heads in wonder instead of carrying out lesson plans.

None of it makes sense. None. We live in such a sad and violent world. We are not guaranteed out next breath,and we should not take life for granted. It's as fragile as a candle easily snuffed out. I cry out to the One who holds all these things in His Hands for mercy and justice.

On another note. I do not regret for a second putting my son back in school this year, even after today's serious events. We prayerfully decided to home school him all these last years and prayerfully decided his star would shine brightest with inspiring everyday teachers who love the subjects they teach. We'll treasure Peace even more as we pick him up this afternoon, as we should.

1 comment:

almostgotit said...

How ironic that this should happen so soon after you published the wonderful list of the worst stereotypes people have about homeschoolers.

I guess I'd have to say here that public schools do not equal murderous, soul-less students any more than home schools equal fanatically religious, illiterate or unsocialized ones.

There is no meaning in meaningless violence. We will never know why one individual breaks in the same conditions that don't break millions of others. I'm with you: hugging my kids extra hard today!

I've blogged about this incident today too, if you'd care to read it here: