Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yet Another Shooting

I had a pretty normal day on Monday, all things considered. I taught school, did laundry, ran some errands, and went out for lunch with my daughter. I did some cleaning and decluttering in my kitchen, and some additional planning work for my homeschool support group. Like I said, pretty normal. By contrast, I also pumped water from my basement and took a drive down River Road to assess the damage along our local shoreline after the mighty Nor’easter of the past day or so. Many waterfront properties had a considerable amount of debris in their yards, indicating that the river had made its way across the road and then some; not normal, but definitely to be expected after such severe weather.

What was not to be expected was yet another school shooting, this time at a college rather than a high school. Of course, due to my lack of news awareness, I was ignorant of this massacre until almost 3:00 PM when my husband called to say that the children of some of his colleagues, children who attend Virginia Tech, were fine. They were either off campus at the time of the shooting or were elsewhere on the school grounds. Praise the Lord!

Hearing this report made me wonder how many of these shooting incidents have taken place in the United States over the past few years. They seem to be increasing, at least to this homeschool mom, but are they really? A reporter for Fox News must have been thinking the same thing because, not too long after my bewilderment, I found this article detailing the school shootings in our country over the past ten years. Summarizing the information:

2007: 3 shootings, 35 dead, 30 injured

Blacksburg, VA: COLLEGE student killed 32, injured ~30, killed self
Greenville, TX: HIGH SCHOOL student committed suicide at school
Tacoma, WA: HIGH SCHOOL student killed younger male student

2006: 8 shootings, 11 dead, 17 injured

Springfield Township, PA: HIGH SCHOOL student committed suicide
Katy, TX: HIGH SCHOOL student committed suicide
Nickel Mines, PA: five Amish schoolgirls & gunman killed, 6 injured
Cazenovia, WI: student shot & wounded principal,
Bailey, CO: six students held hostage, assaulted, 1 killed, gunman killed
Pittsburgh, PA: five basketball players shot after a school dance
Hillsborough, NC: HIGH SCHOOL student shot & injured 2 other students
Essex, VT: gunman killed 2 people & injured 3 at ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

2005: 2 shootings, 11 dead, 7 injured

Red Lake Reservation, MN: nine students killed, 7 injured, shooter killed
Cumberland City, TN: young student killed school bus driver

2004: 5 shootings, 5 dead, 2 injured

Nine Mile Falls, WA: HIGH SCHOOL student committed suicide
Joyce, WA: young student committed suicide in classroom
Philadelphia, PA: ELEMENTARY SCHOOL student killed, guard injured
Washington, D.C.: HIGH SCHOOL student killed, another student injured
Henderson, NV: gunman killed hostage in car on school campus

2003: 3 shootings, 5 dead, 4 injured

Cold Spring, MN: HIGH SCHOOL student killed 2 fellow students
Red Lion, PA: MIDDLE SCHOOL principal killed by student, shooter killed
New Orleans, LA: four teenagers killed fellow student, injured 3 others

2002: 2 shootings, 0 dead, 3 injured

Bowie, MD: MIDDLE SCHOOL student shot & critically wounded by sniper
New York, NY: HIGH SCHOOL student opened fire at school, injured 2

2001: 7 shootings, 7 dead, 18 injured

Caro, MI: HIGH SCHOOL student took 2 hostages, killed himself
Ennis, TX: student took 17 hostages, killed self & female student
Gary, IN: HIGH SCHOOL student, expelled from school, killed classmate
Granite Hill, CA: teacher and 3 students wounded by classmate
Williamsport, PA: HIGH SCHOOL student wounded classmate in cafeteria
Santee, CA: HIGH SCHOOL student killed 2 classmates, wounded 13 others
Baltimore, MD: HIGH SCHOOL student shot & killed classmate

2000: 4 shootings, 2 dead, 6 injured

New Orleans, LA: two MIDDLE SCHOOL students wounded in gunfight
Lake Worth, FL: honor student killed English teacher on last day of class
Mount Morris Township, MI: ELEMENTARY SCHOOL student killed classmate
Fort Gibson, OK: MIDDLE SCHOOL student wounded 4 classmates

1999: 3 shootings, 14 dead, 29 injured

Deming, NM: MIDDLE SCHOOL student killed female student
Conyers, GA: HIGH SCHOOL student injured 6 with rifle & handgun
Littleton, CO: 12 students, teacher & 2 gunmen die, 23 injured

1998: 3 shootings, 8 dead, 30 injured

Springfield, OR: HIGH SCHOOL student killed 2, injured 20
Fayetteville, TN: HIGH SCHOOL student killed classmate
Jonesboro, AR: students killed teacher & 4 girls, wounded 10

1997: 2 shootings, 5 dead, 12 injured

West Paducah, KY: student killed 3, wounded 5 at HIGH SCHOOL
Pearl, MS: HIGH SCHOOL student killed 2 students & wounded 7 others

Total: 42 shootings, 103 dead, 158 injured

Given this information and the magnitude of the Virginia Tech killings on Monday, I truly don’t understand what is happening in our culture that drives people, many of them young, to take their own lives (and the lives of others in the process). Is it a lack of ability to cope with life? Is it the product of violence in our culture? Is it the availability of firearms in our country? The questions could go on and on.

Yet, as a practicing Christian, I wonder if this “school-shooting problem” isn’t related to a lack of spiritual grounding amongst our young people, a lack of grounding in a faith practice that teaches:

- the value of life
…the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. --- John 16:27 (NIV)
- the assurance that, even in the face of tragedy, something positive will be created
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. --- Romans 8:28 (NASB)
- perseverance when faced with challenges
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eye on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. --- Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
I have no answer as to why anyone would commit such a heinous crime. I do, however, have a personal observation: the perpetrators of these crimes seem to be getting more efficient at killing. In 1997, seventeen people were affected in two shootings (5 dead, 12 injured); this year, approximately sixty-five people have been victimized (~35 dead, ~30 injured) in only three shootings…thus far. As the parent of a student who is rapidly approaching her college years, I pray that we, as a society, find some answers as to why these school shootings occur, not just for the safety of our students but also for the survival of our freedoms, as our desire for security may threaten to overrun our commitment to liberty.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Got here from John's blog.

You are correct about the lack of spirituality in our culture, but there's more.

We have abandoned the teaching of manners, because manners are hard to teach.

We have abandoned the teaching of personal responsibility, because responsibility costs.

We have abandoned the neighborhood, because neighborliness requires stability and we are a very mobile society.

There's more, but I will not persue it at this time.

Thank you for posting the information about past years.