What happened just south of Houston on Friday is unconscionable. Another school shooting. More students and two more teachers dead. People who left home that morning anticipating the fact that Friday had finally come.
Not that kind of Friday.
Santa Fe High School was the scene of yet another school shooting. To date we’ve seen more deaths in schools than American soldiers fighting on different fronts this year.
17-year-old Demitrios Pagourtzis, the alleged shooter in Friday’s fiasco, has been cooperating with authorities in the matter. Nothing he can do at this point, however, will change the outcome of a wrong decision he made before going to school early Friday morning.
It’s said he targeted those he didn’t like and didn’t go after those he favored. The feeling of helplessness that now hovers over those who remain accentuates the pain of loss for the loved ones and friends of those murdered and injured. Fear is and will be the unwanted companion of those students because of what they were forced to experience.
I’ve heard more folks talk about stepping up gun control and giving schools more technology to detect weapons so kids can attend class without fear. Schools and churches should be safe havens for those who want to get an education or have the freedom to worship as they choose.
Isn’t that in our laws?
There will be consequences for what has happened. It may not be what people hope for, but justice will be pursued.
It may never seem enough.
We can’t fix this problem by adding more rules, being more diligent to check every student before they enter a school. Evil exists. We can blame others for it, but we’ve all had a hand in making wrong choices. Being bad examples. We’ve given our youth more violent video games, where mayhem and murder are never felt, just executed for a win. We talk about hate and act better than others, giving kids a sense of entitlement.
We need heart change. We need to value people because all of us have been given the gift of life by an Almighty God, and it’s His choice when life should end. Not ours.
We need to be kind toward those who are hurting, have compassion on those who have lost loved ones, who are afraid of what could happen to them, who find themselves in despair about what they can’t control.
We need to forgive. Holding a grudge against this boy, his family or whomever treats us poorly leaves us the bitter ones in bondage to anger, prisoners with no possibility of parole. Unforgiveness weakens our own character and pushes us to pay back rather than pay kindness forward. To do to others before they can hurt us again.
To forgive is to release the other person from the power to continue to hurt us.
There is no easy solution to this crisis. It’s going to take individual responsibility to deal with individual hearts, letting go of anger and reaching out to others with a willingness to see value in all people.
We can’t make this work. Only the power of an all-loving, all-forgiving God can make the difference.
How are we willing to show that every person matters?