It’s not the first time such a tragedy has shattered its way into our living rooms, our lives. Unfortunately, we also know it won’t be the last.
The news broke sparsely at first: another school shooting. Another random victim. Another suspect at large.
The information trickled in slowly and even now, days later, the aftermath is still confusing, still missing pieces.
But what I think I know, based on what the media has told me, is this:
TJ Lane was bullied.
He grew up with rough parents.
He didn’t get the help he obviously so desperately needed.
He took a gun to school.
And he killed Daniel Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin, and Russell King, Jr, as well as wounded several other students.
He fled the scene, was pursued, surrendered and is going to be tried for murder.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m going to say. Because I believe there should be legal and civil consequences for criminal action, especially when such actions result in the ultimate price. I believe there needs to be justice for the murders he committed.
But something about TJ’s story, as I’ve heard it so far, has brought me to tears.
I often see sadness in the news these days; but this story is different. I let myself feel more deeply. I let myself cry without caution. I don’t want to be strong against this fear and sadness. I don’t want to be desensitized to this type of situation or immune to these emotions.
I don’t want to stop thinking, if only…
I think he never really had a chance. I think he was doomed from birth to live in tragedy. I think he was discarded and not paid attention to when it should have been critical to listen to him. I think he was taught at a very young age to not ask for help. I think he learned a twisted lesson about what’s right and wrong, and he learned it far too late.
I think too many people put in half an effort and not enough people put in a full one. I think, ultimately, he was just alone, a lonely guy with no one to help or direct him.
I can’t imagine the horrors, the agony, the numbness that would drive a young man to feel he had no voice to be heard except the bang of his bullets. What evils could well up inside him to the point of taking such drastic actions? Was there any point when he had the tiniest glimmer of hope that he’d be caught and stopped? How lonely was he, how lost, to have planned out such cold-blooded slaughter of other kids?
And for the loneliness that I think he must have felt for most of his life, I cry. I cry a lot. I cry for the boy he never was, and the man he will never be. I cry not for the loss of his childhood, but for the obvious absence of it.
A healthy, well-adjusted, mentally stable person doesn’t wake up one morning and shoot people. This was a chaos in the making for many, many years. And I cry. Because someone, somewhere, must have seen something. And didn’t care.
And all he wanted was someone to care.
And I cry for the three students who died as a result of his downfall. That they suffered for hours, being worked on and hooked up and unplugged. How hard they labored for their breaths. How softly their families sobbed for them.
I can’t imagine the emotions any of them felt that day and continue to feel.
Because I’m so far removed from the situation. I’m on the other side of the nation. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’m not personally connected.
But I’m personally affected.
There’s a world of hurt in TJ Lane and what he’s done.
And for him, and his victims, and even the survivors who have to live in the aftermath ~ I cry. And I keep crying.
And I hope I always will.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!