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I have a story to tell you all. It is absolutely true.
A friend of my parents told us all about when his first marriage was breaking
up. He felt his life was falling apart, but he had these neighbors, this
family who lived next door to him, who helped him through it all.
Shortly after his divorce, Bill's house caught fire. As he lay unconscious
from smoke inhalation, his neighbor entered the house. He pulled Bill out
moments before an implosion that swept the room in flames, moments before
they both would have been burned to death.
After the fire, his neighbors gave him a place to sleep, arranged for food
for him. His neighbors organized the community to raise donations to help
him get back on his feet.
Bill said this neighbor family literally saved his life.
This was several years ago, and Bill has since relocated. He thinks about
his former neighbors often, but hadn't really been in contact since he and
his wife sent them a card last Christmas.
This week, however, he has thought a lot about the Harris family and,
especially, of their son, Eric.
That's right. This neighbor family lived in Littleton, Colorado, and their
son had attended Columbine High School. Their son was one of the two
children who took the lives of others and then committed suicide.
Hearing this forced me to think differently about this whole situation. This
is not to say they were perfect people or perfect parents or that there was
nothing that they could have done about this situation. It just makes me
think that perhaps these "early warning signs" we hear so much talk about now
are a bit more elusive than we would like to think.
The police said they found "bomb parts" in one of the kid's bedrooms (can't
remember which kid), but to someone who is not a ballistics expert, would
they be recognizeable as such?
The gun issue . . . whether we like it or not, many parents feel that
learning to use firearms and a fascination with guns is totally normal for
teenagers, especially boys.
Naziism . . . more than a few guys in my small town high school were
fascinated with Hitler and the Ku klux Klan. Among the most devoted students
of these forms of race hatred were our valedictorian (who subsequently went
to West Point) and my pastor's oldest son. Neither of these guys' parents
condoned this sort of ideology. And it was easy enough for them to tell
their parents that the reason they had copies of "Mein Kempf" was because
they were interested in the history of World War II (I own a copy for the
same reason), while they more actively espoused anti-semitism among their
friends at school.
The more I think about this the more I believe there are no easy answers in
all of this, including blaming the parents.
Thanks for reading,