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FIRST-PERSON: Now, the student assailant will have guidelines, someone watching over him

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (BP)–As families prepare for funerals in Santee, Calif., let’s attempt to look logically at the seemingly illogical carnage that went on there Monday (March 5). Consider that sweet-looking young man who blew people away:

— Children gave Andy enough verbal and emotional abuse to arouse anger, hatred and eventual despair.

— Parents gave the kid splintered attention, so that he had no distinct guardrails.

— Society gave him a “floating truth” theory that grayed all the lines and left him free to respond to offense by instinct.

— History gave him precedent.

— Friends — including adults — gave his barely veiled threats no credence.

— The system gave him a gun.

And we’re surprised he killed someone?

The killing is arguably the destination of a natural drift. “Natural” and “drift” are the key words.

Since Adam and Eve blew it in the garden, “natural” has been contrary to godly, so without the grace of God in a person’s life — without direct intervention by Christ himself — we all do what comes “naturally,” and that’s not pretty. We can either be bathed in the blood of Christ or the blood of the innocent victims of our rage, figuratively or literally.

“Drift” is what anything with inertia does when it has no direction. Andy Williams was drifting. How can society have any reasonable expectation of where someone drifting will end up? A person will simply drift according to where the banks of water lead, and if you line the banks with hatred and distrust, the person will arrive at a point of deep despair. Sometimes there will be a waterfall at the end, and the person will go over the edge. Sometimes, in their final effort to reach out, they’ll take someone with them.

Check the photos of Andy, even the one on CNN.com of him being led away from his final outreach effort. He looks sweet and innocent. He might be, if children, parents and/or society had given him anything other than what they did.

Andy has attention now. He’ll always have guidelines. He’ll have someone to watch over him. He’ll have people (in the cell next to him) to bond with. If he tries to reach out by making threats, he’ll be taken quite seriously. In a sick, sadistic way, Andy has everything he was seeking.

It is obvious to even the most casual, calloused and spiritually lost observer what could have changed all of this: positive attention, encouragement, loving guidance. Which is why, as I read about Andy early this morning, I couldn’t suppress a sarcastic chuckle at a sub-headline on CNN.com: “Suspect under observation.”

It is a little late.
A freelance journalist and revival and conference speaker, Lee is a member of Indian Trail (N.C.) Baptist Church.

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  • Victor Lee