Words can not express the horror of what has transpired today in the quiet community of Chardon, OH. The brokenness of one young man causes the death (there are two as of this post) of his classmates. We may never truly know the “why” of it.
Although the shooter has been arrested, the deep motivation that pushed him may escape our understanding. I see this anger played out daily in the schools i visit and almost hourly in the fabric of the social network. I’m not clear what to offer as a solution…but do know that those of us in leadership in communities and the local Church are going to have to think differently. Over the past year i’ve been in many conversations about these issues. The common theme centers around “bullying”. Local schools are spending tons of money to raise awareness…but i think the most basic solution and probably too simple for some -is we need to get to know each other better. I sat in a bullying awareness seminar last spring and i can remember processing the experience and thinking…the real problem is these students don’t know each others stories. And that lack of understanding is the core of so much of their relational breakdowns. Efforts like Every Student-Every School can be a great first start. Since prayer is the life breath of all ministry, getting concerned parents and community leaders joining together to pray for the students and for their being in healty peer relationships would be an amazing first start. You can sign up for your school by following the link.
One of my good Kingdom Allies, Greg Stier, president of Dare2Share (and an early responder at Columbine High School in 1999) offered some great thoughts today on his blog with 5 reminders in light of today’s events here in Ohio. One thought in particular was the concept of encouraging our Christian students to sit at a different cafeteria table ever week. By doing so, our students will get a chance to know others at school and better understand who each other is. I wonder like Greg if the Christian teenagers at Chardon High School would have reached out to TJ Lane with the love of Jesus on a consistent basis whether or not the outcome would have been different. The rant TJ posted on his facebook page (now removed) shows a young man who has been hurt and ignored by many.
Could these deaths and woundings been avoided? Maybe, maybe not…either way we’ve got to step up and equip and set our students free to reach out to…
“those teens”…the “un” ones, the loners and “losers.” Why? Because this is the exact pattern of Jesus and, if the love of Jesus can’t prevent school shootings, there’s not a metal detector in the world that will.