http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_High_School_shooting I am crying as I write this blog, but probably not for the reason most people do. This kid shooting up kids in his school was beyond tragic...words cannot even describe how devastating this event was on the school staff, students, members of the community and quite frankly, this whole end of the state. I don't know anyone who doesn't know someone connected to the shooting in one way or another.
I had two little babies at the time, Erika was just over 1 year and Kayla was right at 6 months old. I could not imagine what it was like for parents with school-aged children. I was so frightened that this could happen and in fact, DID happen.
Now, all these years later, my heart aches for Michael Carneal more than anyone else. I never expected to feel this way...he is, after all, a convicted murderer. There is no doubt that he did it. He was 14 years old and very small for his age. He open fired on a prayer circle. After dropping the gun, Carneal said to another kid: "Kill me, please. I can't believe I did that." We watched every second of the news coverage, the trial coverage and the news still reports each appeal and also reports on the survivors of the shooting. What we don't hear is how this boy, now all grown up, faces himself in the mirror every day.
My heart aches for Michael and his family because it can't be undone. I have no doubt that he planned it and implemented it. It was certainly premeditated. By a 14 year old boy who had nothing going right for him. He was tired of rejection and being bullied. Add to that his obvious hormonal imbalance and maybe even a side of depression. Oh yeah, lest we not forget, he was a gamer...death and war games specifically. Introverted into his own little killing world all the time. So he did it. And instantly wished he was dead because he could not believe he did THAT. Instantly, his parents could no longer hold their heads up. He and his family would never be treated the same again. ("What kind of monsters would produce such a monster?" was commonly heard.) And yet, they are not monsters. None of them. Just people. Who did things wrong and right. No different than you or me. But some mistakes cannot be undone.
And so, the announcement for yet another appeal for Michael Carneal today broke my heart into all over again. God can redeem this boy and I hope and pray that He has...but he will never be free from a hell on this earth brought on by his own mistake.
May God help us all to love the teenagers in our lives and not minimize their feelings. Sometimes we forget just how strong our emotions were at that age. We also forget just how mean teenagers can be to one another. We forget how mean we sometimes are to young people that get on our nerves...sometimes with good reason. Maybe we even empathize with the cooler, more socially acceptable teens for not wanting to include the weird kid, the introverted shy kid, the nerdy kid, the fat kid, the ugly kid, or the _____kid. If we do though, shame on us. All people are created in God's image and that means something. ALL PEOPLE are God's. AND, if I read my Bible right, he has a particularly soft spot for children.
Please send up a prayer for Michael and his family. I don't condone his actions. I don't see what he did as anything but 100% wrong. But I can imagine how badly he wished he could turn back time. AND My heart aches for him.