Yesterday, a 16-year-old high school student at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville wielded two knives and attacked almost two dozen people. He stabbed his victims in the torso and slashed their arms and faces until he was tackled by an assistant principal.
I hate stories like this.
While mass shootings in public places have become…something that happens, when do you ever hear of a mass STABBING? Reuters reported that these sort of incidents are far less common.
Of course the natural first question is “What was wrong with this kid?!”
Apparently, he had a spotless record – no psychiatric or disciplinary problems, good student, got along well with people…
So, what do we make of this?
Well, I don’t know what you make of this. But, when I hear of it, a part of me grieves like the victims were part of my own family. Maybe it’s part of being a parent, but anytime I hear of a story like this, I have the same reaction. It makes me think of 9/11 – being a high school student – oblivious to anything that didn’t have to do with my football player crush – and being so suddenly struck by this huge event – seeing my country as…my own family. Beginning to open my mind to things outside of my selfish little bubble. 9/11 woke me up, as I know it did many, to the suffering in the world. Remember the aftermath of that tragedy? Churches all over the country had standing room only and there was such an obvious and instant camaraderie that we, as Americans, became aware of. It was devastating. And it brought us together.
Even if you don’t have kids. These victims could be any one of our little brothers or sisters. It’s just sickening. So, first, I pray. I pray for the impossibly horrifying news that the parents of those victims just got. I pray because I know that nothing can bring them comfort except the all-powerful God who does miracles. I pray for the parents of this boy who brought terror to his school. Could you imagine? Being his parent? These situations bring so much pain to everyone involved and in my own experience, there’s nothing in this world that can bring any hope into the hopelessness that these families are experiencing except the Prince of Peace.
Something else this story makes me think about is the fact that we can’t control any of this. I’m not saying that to exploit a tragedy to make a political point – or even a religious one. It’s just the fact. We can have a say (should have a say) in a whole lot of what goes on in this country, but we can’t control things like this. According to people in this kid’s life, there were no warning signs. There was no gun law that could have kept him from this act of violence. No medication (he had no indication of any previous mental illness according to the sources). There was nothing anyone could have done.
As awful and helpless as that reality is, it’s also freeing. Maybe it’s because I’m a Christian, and I feel the comfort of trusting my life (and the lives of my loved ones) to a God I believe in who I know loves me. Whether or not you live with hope or not though, if you take an honest look at the state of our world – there’s no solution.
I write about politics. I love reading a headline where I can have an opinion and say ‘HERE is the solution THIS is what the government should or shouldn’t do.” I WISH I could concoct some sort of helpful remedy to this sort of thing. I wish it so bad. I have a child. And I would move mountains if I knew there was something I could do to protect her from evil.
But when it comes to murderous sociopaths – I mean….what is there to say? What is there to do?
We could hide in our houses. We could urge our government to write up new laws and expect these psychotic killers to follow them – but really, what good are any of those efforts?
These tragedies don’t stir me to fight for new laws. These tragedies make me pause. They make me pray. They make me beg God to give me the grace to trust Him – even when I don’t understand.
I am mourning for these families today. And I hope that we GenFringers with our myriad of political opinions can be united on at least that today.