Friday the unimaginable happened. Here's the story from my perspective.
I was arriving at Sarah's school to check her out early (so we could go get a dog... more on that later....) and when I got there, found yellow police tape blocking the entrances, police cars, news camera crews and lots and lots of cars and people milling around...
I pulled into our street (we live across the street) and stopped and asked the first lady I saw, "What's going on?" "There's been a shooting", she said and my heart stopped. "My daughter's in there...." I replied through gasps and wide eyes and tears welling up. "They're on lock down, they won't let you get her, but," taking my hand in hers, "if you haven't heard anything... that's good news. Okay?! They have already taken the shooter and victim away. Go park your car and call your daughter." "Okay, thanks" I mumbled. Only my daughter left her phone at home. So I began to try all of her friends' cell numbers that I have in my phone, finally reaching one who said she was not with Sarah (they had been pushed into whatever classroom they were closest to), but she was sure Sarah was fine. I asked her if she had seen anything and she said yes, she had seen the victim on the ground. "I'm sorry" I said. That was all I could think to say.
You hear this all the time and our mayor said this in one of the press conferences-- but this type of thing isn't supposed to happen HERE. This is an awesome, family-oriented community with awesome schools and last year, we were voted the second best city in the U.S. to raise a family! It's safe here, I would have told you.
But for some reason.... a 14 year old decided to take a gun to school, walk up to another 14 year old, and shoot him in the back of the head. Oh... how my heart breaks for the victim's family, the shooter and his family, the kids who saw it happen, the kids who didn't see it, but who were shoved into classrooms, doors locked, lights turned off and told to stay away from the windows or get under desks as "Code Red" was announced over the loud speaker and people yelled "Someone has a gun". How my heart breaks for my daughter who had to go through this and who will have to go to school tomorrow and walk in the same hallway where this happened.
When Sarah finally called me, I was never so happy to hear her voice. My first question was, "Did you see anything?" She hadn't. And I praised God for that small blessing. It took nearly 1/2 hour of waiting in line before I had her in the car... the Mayor of our city was in the car line reassuring parents. I heard someone with a walkie talkie say, "We need to get as many kids off this campus as possible as soon as possible". The policeman I spoke to told me I couldn't cut across the parking lot because "It's a crime scene". It was surreal.
This isn't supposed to happen anywhere. It is not God's desire for his creation. But one thought I do have, and it was something I already had percolating in my brain after listening to a sermon recently where the preacher was talking about how the Church is Jesus in the world.... His very presence... I got this email from our school superintendent that was giving information about a community meeting they will have today and this sentence stuck out at me:
"Additionally, today I met with scores of church leaders, pastors, preachers, and members of our faith based community. They will be available to offer counseling and support after Sunday’s meeting and they have a willingness to help anyone at any time".
Jesus in the world. Don't ask me to tell you why He would allow something so horrific to begin with... this is a fallen world and freewill brings sin. But I do know that without fail, whenever there is a tragedy, the church turns out. Jesus turns out. And I love Him for that. Even as He embraces Todd Brown in heaven, He is on earth healing the wounds left here, once again cleaning up a mess left by his creation that continues to make bad choices.http://www.al.com/huntsvilletimes/pageone/saturday.pdf