Columbine

Today is the anniversary of Columbine, the shooting that occurred at a Colorado high school ten years ago.

I first heard of the incident at a Bible study. People were saying that we should pray for people in Colorado, and I (not keeping up with the news back then) ignorantly asked, “What’s going on in Colorado?”

The story that we were fed at the time was that there were people who did not fit in at their high school who expressed their frustrations through an act of violence. Over the past ten years, however, some have suggested that the shooters were more socially-integrated than was initially thought.

But I appreciated the growing realization that there are people on the social margins, as well as the sudden attention to the problem of bullying. I remember a preacher at a Christian gathering saying: “One thing you can say about these kids, and that is that they were in a lot of pain. And the group that they felt the most rejected by was the Christians, since they shot anyone who said they believed in God.” His thesis was that we can go to God with our pain and he will minister to us, and maybe even bring to our side someone else who’s experiencing the same problem that we are.

That message encouraged me, and I think that going to God with my pain has made me feel better, at least for a little while. But God didn’t always bring into my path people whom I could help, since many are individualistic and secretive about their problems, meaning that they don’t share much with me. Plus, I have social difficulties that hinder my interaction. Since I’ve attended Alcoholics Anonymous and started my blog, however, I’ve been able to help more people.

A heroine in the Columbine tragedy was the young lady who took a bold stand for God. The shooters went into a library and asked anyone who believed in God to stand up. The young lady was there tutoring students, and she stood up. “I believe in God, and you should walk in his path,” she told the shooters. She lost her life as a result.

I once thought that she was a preppy Christian beauty queen who fit in and was liked by everyone, whereas the shooters were hurt outsiders with genuine grievances. But that impression was challenged when I read an article in Christianity Today. The magazine was interviewing her parents, and they said that their daughter was somewhat of a recluse and had problems dating. But she channeled her energy into her religion and service work.

I think the lessons of Columbine include the need to be sensitive to the pain of others and to value all people, even those who appear strange.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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