The Columbine Shooting (Written April 24, 1999) -
February 14th, 2002, 04:02 PM
Article to Theologyonline.com following the Columbine Shooting.
Written and originally posted April 24, 1999
Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was just learning how to ride a bike, a frightening and unusual accident was prevented by the quick action of her father. As she was struggling to peddle and steer the bike, a driverless car rolled slowly down the street directly toward her. Imagine her surprise when she glanced up to see this empty car, gaining speed as it came down the hill, headed straight for her. Fortunately, her father saw what was about to take place and rushed forward in time to push her to safety. Afterward, while our hearts were still pounding, the inevitable "what if" questions came to mind: "What if he hadn't been close enough to save her," "What if he hadn't been outside with her". But most of all, we were relieved that she was safe and had lived to ride again.
Tuesday afternoon, we had a similar experience. After returning from a weekend trip in the mountains, we were puzzled by phone messages from relatives who had called to see if we were okay. Then there was a message from my husband's lieutenant telling him to be prepared to assist in an emergency situation (he's a local deputy sheriff). We had no idea what was going on, so we turned on the news. Reports were coming in that an area high school was under attack. We listened in shock when we heard that it was Columbine High School. We live less than two miles away from that school.
A frightening realization set in. My daughter, who is now 16 and a junior, would have been in that school if it hadn't been for a decision we had made five years ago. When she was about to enter the seventh grade, we decided that public school was no longer a safe environment for her or her siblings. We pulled them all out of public school and began homeschooling them. We had many reasons for doing this, but school violence was one of the main reasons (we were not Christians at the time).
As the terrible details began to unfold, I went to my daughter and hugged her as though I would never let go. I felt as though she had barely escaped this tragedy. Why? Because so many times, when I first began homeschooling, I had thought maybe I was overreacting. So many times I had been ridiculed for my decision. So many times I had doubted my ability to teach her and had considered sending her back to school. Now, I can't help but to ask, "What if I had given in to my reservations?" "What if I had given in to social pressure?" "What if I had given in to self doubt?"
Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that we made the right decision. Now it is painfully clear. My entire community is filled with grief and despair over this tragedy. My heart goes out to all those parents who are on the other side of these "what if" questions. The public school system reminds me of that driverless car, hurtling out of control. For most parents, there is still time. It is not to late to push your kids out of its path before they, too, become its victims.