I stumbled across a news story today, while reading about the highlighted events of the week. A freshman in a middle school in Alabama shot a classmate in the back of the head and killed him. A middle schooler. The news report stated that it was an isolated incident, inferring that there was just no need to worry. There were no breaking news reports on CNN, no interrupting stories on network news, and no continual, round-the-clock coverage on MSNBC. While Marilyn Manson once reported of Columbine coverage, “You should’ve seen the ratings that day…” it’s become evident that in America, one 9th grader killing a classmate shouldn’t disturb us.
But I am disturbed. As a teacher, it haunts me. As a human being, it terrifies me, and as an American, it shames me. No matter what this young man was thinking, this isn’t just a parental problem. It’s not a trend that could/should panic teachers nationwide. There’s nothing education systems can do to prevent random acts of violence (though I do believe bullying can be stopped, and thus a large percentage of hardcore retaliatory acts of violence).This is not an issue a Democratic or a Republican government can set straight for future students, schools, and administrations. This is a societal issue that epitomizes what we’re all about – violence, immediacy, revenge. The fact that a child has killed another child in a public school and that isn’t headline news says so much about us as a country, as a people, as human beings.
In the wake of mudslides in California, hundreds of thousands dead in one of the worst earthquakes in history, snow storms referred to as snowmageddon, and ice caps melting at an alarming rate in the Arctic, it sort of makes you wonder what God is trying to tell us…. And are we listening?