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Maybe our teenagers understand better

Because of all the attention being given to Hurricane Floyd’s hit on the Carolina coast, some people might have missed yet another reason for the United States to shed a collective tear.

Friday, September 17, 1999

Because of all the attention being given to Hurricane Floyd’s hit on the Carolina coast, some people might have missed yet another reason for the United States to shed a collective tear.

Seven people and maybe more were killed Wednesday night when a gunman walked into their Texas church yelling anti-Baptist comments.

Teenagers were gathered in the church for a special service.

The man used a pipe bomb and guns to kill seven and wound that many more teenagers and others who were there that evening to worship.

Teenagers huddled under pews – praying – while the man went on his murderous rampage.

He carried a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and a .380-caliber handgun, pausing during the attack to reload, using three clips in all, according to the report by The Associated Press.

And, sad to say, this is on the heels of the shooting at the California Jewish community center and only a little less than a year after the tragedy at Columbine High School.

Other than the tragedy of losing so many lives so senselessly, the mere fact that once again we have a crime that centered on religious bigotry or racial intolerance, should be a wake-up call for anyone who thinks there isn’t something terribly wrong in the way our society is developing.

But, lucky for us, there was a bit of good news in Lawrence County this week – a sign that all hope is not lost and that maybe, just maybe, we should be paying more attention to our children.

More than 200 children at Dawson-Bryant Middle School gathered at their school for a prayer session Wednesday – a part of a new program developed by that school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The idea was to give the students in the school a place to turn to find friends and a listening ear.

Even the most positive students at the school said they were surprised by the turnout – who would have thought that many children would have been so interested.

The participation is voluntary. No one’s religious freedom was violated and children from different faiths mixed well and supported each other during the special meeting.

What a refreshing sign and yet another nail in the theory that children will be threatened by the inclusion of a moral or religious activity in their school.

Events like these are designed to bring people together, not to push one religion over the other. They are a chance to share a little fellowship and to teach our children how to get along. And, more importantly, these children now know they have a place they can go if they need help or guidance.

Dawson-Bryant’s victory does not erase the horror of the Texas shooting, but it says that we need to take some leads from our children in breaking the grip violence and hatred have on our communities.

They seem to understand better than we do that we are all stronger when we are in the fight together.

Maybe it is time for us to listen to them.

Renee Carey is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.