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Death in San Diego

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Luke 11:29-32
As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation.
It asks for a miraculous sign..."

Even in handcuffs and prison clothes, Andy Williams looks like such a cute kid in the newspaper pictures. When I heard about the shooting I thought, as I have before, about how one tragedy like this spawns another. Responses of school authorities, the media, and parents seem so incomplete and inadequate.

Looking for Darrell Scott's speech to Congress after his daughter was killed at Columbine High School, I found a memorial website to the kids killed there ( In the 686 days since April 20, 1999, this website has had nearly 10 million visits. Many people care, feel personally hurt and maybe even betrayed when a school shooting occurs.

The phrase that sticks most in my head today after listening to the news and reading the paper is "we are at a loss to explain..." It was to this helplessness that Darrell Scott spoke. His speech can be found on several websites (e.g., but the poem he wrote a few days after his daughter was killed and son shot is what I want to share with you.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question, '9 Why?"

You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed
And yet you fail to understand
That God is what we need

The Bible sometimes speaks of "hardened" hearts. Can a heart be tender and vulnerable in human relationships but closed and hardened toward God? At some point, as relationships fail time after time, won't that same heart become hard toward others as well?

As I continue to think about Andy Williams and his gun, I feel hopeless and sad. Like most of us, I want a miracle, for our society to be healthy again. I am driven to pray, to wait for God, in the midst of the disaster we make on our own of our lives.

God, protect me from sinning against your Spirit. Show me how to believe in your healing and your touch even when death is on America's doorstep. I will trust in you.

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