Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Violent Killings in Lancaster

Ninety minutes.

That's what separates my home, my family, and my son from a quiet, reserved, private community of people who's lives were torn apart yesterday as one lone man acted out his rage by taking hostage all the little girls (with the exception of a few) in a one-room school house, shooting them, and then killing himself.

The latest news reports that five girls have died, and six are still hospitalized, making this the nation's third deadly school shooting in less than a week! My heart is indeed stuck in my throat.

I can not even wrap my hands around this. I don't understand how someone can be so angry that they would walk into a school, and shoot innocent children. Innocent! I can't imagine how frightened those children must have been. I can't imagine what went through their minds as one by one, their friends were shot, and as the shooter worked down the line of girls, coming closer to them. I can't imagine what the parents are going through -- the ones that lost their precious children yesterday, the ones who have children recovering in hospitals, and the ones who are a part of their community. I can't believe that this was so close to my own home, and in a community that is so far removed from modern society! A community that does not condone violence, and that stresses humility, family and community, and separation from the world.

The Amish are well known for being very private people who believe in God, and they have held together despite pressure to change from our modern world. They are not perfect, but they are a strong example of a community that supports and cares for its members. They are "a people apart" from the world.

If you have ever visited an Amish community, you have seen how they work together. The adults instill strong ethics in the children, teaching them from a young age to honor God, be a blessing to God, and to work hard. I am blessed to be close enough to this community that I can visit any time I want. I love to watch them work out in the fields. I love to watch the children play with simple toys ... wooden hoops and sticks, wooden handcarved toys, and the beautiful little faceless dolls. When I step into an Amish market, it reminds me of a beautiful quilt, with all the bright blues, wines, white, black, purple, and green fabrics that make up their simple clothing. Yes, very simple, yet, very functional. I am completely fascinated by the Amish and how they manage to get so much done in one day, without all the trappings and conveniences of modern technology!

And, in just one morning, one person, an evil, sick person, has managed to rip apart a community, and a people of their trust in our world. Now, I can only wonder how this single event will affect their lives. Will they continue to send their children to one-room school houses? Or will they take this as a sign that their children should no longer be educated? Will they pull away from our world and completely isolate themselves, or will they continue to live and work among us, while maintaining their separation from us?

And finally ... finally, finally, finally ... the Bush administration has called for a school violence summit to be held next week with education and law enforcement officials to discuss possible federal action to help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath. Aftermath. There should never be "aftermath" in our children's schools. And ... it is a shame that it took yet another shooting to shake them into action. The news reported today that only 6% of our nation's schools have made any changes to their security and preparation since the Columbine tragedy! Appalling. While a sad thought that we have come to this, it is more than time that changes are made to secure the safety of this Nation's children!

The more violence I see occurring in our schools, the more hate I see being fostered in our children, the more liberal theology I see being implanted in our kids through their curriculum and teachers, the more my eyes are opened to the cruelty children are faced with ... my heart fractures a little bit more each day for what my son faces ahead of him. Schools with metal detectors. Schools with security detail. Will there be bars on the windows? Will the children have to carry electronic pass cards to move from room to room? Or even to get into the building? They can't even wear jackets or heavy sweaters in the classrooms or throughout the school for fear that they may be carrying a concealed weapon. The mere fact that an elementary child could be suspect of carrying a concealed weapon is heart breaking!

Little by little, my heart and mind reconcile to keeping my children at home and homeschooling them. I know I can't shelter them from everything, but this is one step towards keeping as far removed from the violence as possible, while instilling in them Godly values, principals and morals.

I don't have a Tuesday Toss-up for you today. Instead, my heart weaps for the community in Lancaster, PA that has suffered such tragic loss. A community, which is practically a stone's throw away. I pray for the families of this community, and for the children that were directly involved with the shooting, that the Lord will help them work through this appaling tragedy, and mend their minds and hearts to what they have seen and experienced.

Finally, I open up my comment section for you to share your own thoughts and emotions on this subject ...


kpjara said...

It is SO disheartening to see another act of violence in school! An Amish school nonetheless.

My heart breaks along with this community and our nation.

I pray God's sovreign hand over this in healing.

lrlwreath said...

I am still sleeping in, in the mornings as I recovery from surgery. This morning I rolled over turned my TV on and heard about this story. Granted I am in an emotional state anyways with some of the medications I am on, but two minutes after waking up I was sobbing in bed.

How can such evil happen? It happened with God allowing it. And did you know that for some families, there was more than one child injured?

And of course like the Amish they are already talking about forgiveness. And if I was following God's will I know I should be talking about forgiveness also. But these were YOUNG GIRLS!!!!

I can see anger at an adult who wronged you (at least I can understand it). But I can not understand a person hurting another child because of some grudge. This individual lost a daughter several years back. Is this why? Did he want people to know his pain?

GiBee I am with I can not wrap my brain around it.

Part of me thinks, do I need to tell my childen "ok this is what you do if there is a shooter". I NEVER thought those words would come out of my mouth.

Thanks for the forum to vent. I know God is in control. I pray what Satan meant for evil, God can use for Good.

Sheri said...

It is so heartbreaking to watch these shootings over and over again. The families of all involved are so heavily in our prayers.

Shalee said...

This is a travesty that should never have taken place. While it may be easy to place blame on some administration, I find that they aren't to be held accountable for such a horrendous act. They have no more control over it than you, GiBee. It's like blaming the principal when a child hits another child out of anger. The principal, sitting in his office, is too far removed from the situation. And it isn't right to say that he should sit there. What about all the other classrooms that he cannot attend? That cannot be the answer.

As to the wretched 32 year old criminal and his story - reports show that he "was taking revenge for an old grudge." How much differently his life could have been if he had learned to handle things differently, back when he was trainable, moldable, willing.

I think most of the lack of self-control goes back to the home: teaching values, respect and proper dealings with emotions; listening to children when they are speaking; disciplining when needed; and showing love through every action. If adults would start to raise their children rather than just have children, things could be so much different than where they are now. Obviously this is not for every case and I'm not saying the parents are to blame for the shooter's actions. But I am saying that as parents, we have an obligation, a duty, a need to "train up the child in the way that he should go" while we have a chance to mold them.

Also, calling on God to correct a sinful nation wouldn't hurt either. Well, it might hurt, but not HURT like we are now.

I am torn for those in innocents. I pray that God would grant peace and healing to everyone involved. I also pray that we can be healed as a country so that this will not happen ever again. Lastly I pray that we will learn to praise God in all thing, in even this.

Jada said...

This situation is so tragic, and so close to home. I live about 45 minutes from Lancaster. I can't even concentrate at work today, let alone yesterday when we turned on the TV to watch the 12:00 news; so I'm reading blogs today and taking calls in between. It is just so sad.

Thank you for writing this post.


GiBee said...

Lrlwreath -- I don’t think God "allows" bad things to happen. It’s true, that God is powerful enough to stop anything, but He gave us free-will, and the choice to either to submit to Him and obey His commandments, or reject Him and do evil. God created us to love Him and have a relationship with Him. The relationship would not mean anything if we were controlled by God like puppets. So God has given people the freedom to make choices, and to reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of those choices.

It breaks my heart that there was even one child injured or lost for a family, but I did not know that there was more than one child in a family that was injured! It's just awful! We just need to trust that God will bring good out of this evil.

"For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Shalee -- You are right! I don't blame the administration at all ... I'm just frustrated that so many young people have had to loose their lives before they jump into action to make schools safer for our kids. One life is one too many.

As for the man that did this ... I think he was tormented by a slew of demons. And, I must say that I feel deeply for his wife, because he laid at her feet the boiling pot that was going on in his head. He called her before while he was in the school room and he confesed to her that he had molested two young relatives decades ago and was tormented by "dreams of molesting again." This man was deeply disturbed. His wife, bless her heart, was a leader of a prayer group that met weekly to pray for the children in the school systems. How ironic is that? It was as if he was sending her a very specific message ... "even God can't keep them safe." Which, as we know, is not true. She and her kids must be shattered also.

I think the most important thing I can do at this point, it to comit myself to raising Godly, respectful children, working diligently to "train them up as they should go."

"...if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Jada, I know what you mean!

Susanne said...

My heart is just so broken for these families that words are beyond me right now! All I feel I can do is cry out to God for North America because we have the same kind of things that go on here in Canada! We need a spirit of repentance and for God to heal our land!

lrlwreath said...

GiBee, I agree with what you said 100% My termanology was not the best, yes God gives us free will (thanks for correcting that) because what you said is what I meant =)

Overwhelmed! said...

The news of this and other recent school violence has shocked me and left me feeling bewildered and afraid. My son isn't in school yet and already I worry, is he going to be safe.

How does this happen? What are these people thinking when they are executing innocent children?!

My heart and prayers go out to all the families at these schools, and especially to the families that lost their children in such a tragic way.

Anonymous said...

It's just heartbreaking, that all. Heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Just to say what a lovely blog...
Heart breaking...
had done a write up on my Blog a while ago re Amish now this...
God bless your day
Hope you can read on my blog/also more about me & life.....

Freye uk (sunny on blog)

Eagles Wings said...

It is so sad, I pray that God will be with these familes. Thanks for your post! I used to live 90 minutes from that same Amish community!

Anonymous said...

It is so very disheartening. However I must say that the Amish community's heart really does place a conviction on my heart as to how I would react in such a situation. I don't know if I would be able to forgive as they have done. Wow. They are in my prayers...that God would lavish his Grace, Mercy, and Peace on there lives and bring Comfort to them.

In His Grip,