Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech: A Time to Mourn

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." – Ecclesiastes 3:1
According to the Jerome Biblical commentary, the author of this Old Testament verse from Sacred Scripture relates to the inability of humankind to understand the events in this world but to know that God rules time. Humanity is significantly limited as to the capability to understand the trials and sufferings of this life as tragically exemplified by the Virginia Tech calamity but God's presence, in whatever faith each person has to understand it, is our only hope.

"Under the heavens," the time now is to mourn for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured. These individuals, as well as all the family and friends who love them, deserve our prayerful and emotional sensitivity.

In time, when it is more appropriate, I will be addressing the critical issue of violence in American society, based on my experiences throughout the nation since the April 20, 1999 Columbine tragedy. At this time, the essential priority must be to unite as a community to pray for the repose of the souls of those who have perished and to pray for the healing of those who have been injured.

Reminded of the violence so pervasive in our society, it is also critical to pray for all those throughout our nation who have been affected by school violence:

  • February 2, 1996 / Moses Lake, WA
    Two students and one teacher killed, one other wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.
  • February 19, 1997 / Bethel, AK
    Principal and one student killed, two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.
  • October 1, 1997 / Pearl, MS
    Two students killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodham, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.
  • December 1, 1997 / West Paducah, KY
    Three students killed, five wounded by Michael Carneal, 14, as they participated in a prayer circle at Heath High School.
  • December 15, 1997 / Stamps, AR
    Two students wounded. Colt Todd, 14, was hiding in the woods when he shot the students as they stood in the parking lot.
  • March 24, 1998 / Jonesboro, AR
    Four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.
  • April 24, 1998 / Edinboro, PA
    One teacher, John Gillette, killed, two students wounded at a dance at James W. Parker Middle School. Andrew Wurst, 14, was charged.
  • May 19, 1998 / Fayetteville, TN
    One student killed in the parking lot at Lincoln County High School three days before he was to graduate. The victim was dating the ex-girlfriend of his killer, 18-year-old honor student Jacob Davis.
  • May 21, 1998 / Springfield, OR
    Two students killed, 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.
  • June 15, 1998 / Richmond, VA
    One teacher and one guidance counselor wounded by a 14-year-old boy in the school hallway.
  • April 20, 1999 / Littleton, CO
    14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.
  • May 20, 1999 / Conyers, GA
    Six students injured at Heritage High School by Thomas Solomon, 15, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend.
  • November 19, 1999 / Deming, NM
    Victor Cordova Jr., 12, shot and killed Araceli Tena, 13, in the lobby of Deming Middle School.
  • December 6, 1999 / Fort Gibson, OK
    Four students wounded as Seth Trickey, 13, opened fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at Fort Gibson Middle School.
  • February 29, 2000 / Mount Morris Township, MI
    Six-year-old Kayla Rolland shot dead at Buell Elementary School near Flint, Mich. The assailant was identified as a six-year-old boy with a .32-caliber handgun.
  • March 10, 2000 / Savannah, GA
    Two students killed by Darrell Ingram, 19, while leaving a dance sponsored by Beach High School.
  • May 26, 2000 / Lake Worth, FL
    One teacher, Barry Grunow, shot and killed at Lake Worth Middle School by Nate Brazill, 13, with .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol on the last day of classes.
  • September 26, 2000 / New Orleans, LA
    Two students wounded with the same gun during a fight at Woodson Middle School.
  • January 17, 2001 / Baltimore, MD
    One student shot and killed in front of Lake Clifton Eastern High School.
  • March 5, 2001 / Santee, CA
    Two killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School.
  • March 7, 2001 / Williamsport, PA
    Elizabeth Catherine Bush, 14, wounded student Kimberly Marchese in the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann High School; she was depressed and frequently teased.
  • March 22, 2001 / Granite Hills, CA
    One teacher and three students wounded by Jason Hoffman, 18, at Granite Hills High School. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman.
  • March 30, 2001 / Gary, IN
    One student killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from Lew Wallace High School.
  • November 12, 2001 / Caro, MI
    Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.
  • January 15, 2002 / New York, NY
    A teenager wounded two students at Martin Luther King Jr. High School.
  • April 14, 2003 / New Orleans, LA
    One 15-year-old killed, and three students wounded at John McDonogh High School by gunfire from four teenagers (none were students at the school). The motive was gang-related.
  • April 24, 2003 / Red Lion, PA
    James Sheets, 14, killed principal Eugene Segro of Red Lion Area Junior High School before killing himself.
  • September 24, 2003 / Cold Spring, MN
    Two students are killed at Rocori High School by John Jason McLaughlin, 15.
  • March 21, 2005 / Red Lake, MN
    Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.
  • November 8, 2005 / Jacksboro, TN
    One 15-year-old shot and killed an assistant principal at Campbell County High School and seriously wounded two other administrators.
  • Aug. 24, 2006 / Essex, VT
    Christopher Williams, 27, looking for his ex-girlfriend at Essex Elementary School, shot two teachers, killing one and wounding another. Before going to the school, he had killed the ex-girlfriend's mother.
  • September 26, 2006 / Bailey, CO
    Adult male held six students hostage at Platte Canyon High School and then shot and killed Emily Keyes, 16, and himself.
  • September 29, 2006 / Cazenovia, WI
    A 15-year-old student shot and killed Weston School principal John Klang.
  • October 3, 2006 / Nickel Mines, PA
    32-year-old Carl Charles Roberts IV entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died.
  • January 3, 2007 / Tacoma, WA
    Douglas Chanthabouly, 18, shot fellow student Samnang Kok, 17, in the hallway of Henry Foss High School.
  • April 16, 2007 / Blacksburg, VA
    A 23-year-old Virginia Tech student, Cho Seung-Hui, killed two in a dorm, then killed 30 more 2 hours later in a classroom building. His suicide brought the death toll to 33, making the shooting rampage the most deadly in U.S. history. Fifteen others were wounded

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