The shooting last week at a movie theatre during the midnight showing of the new Batman movie has left everyone sad and scratching their heads and asking how this could happen in a nice quiet community. I know there will be hundreds of posts all over the blogosphere about this but here’s my 2 cents.
I’ve already heard the reports from the shooter’s neighbors and classmates who described him as “a quiet guy, a loner, kept to himself.” That seems to be the description of the suspect every time a horrific incident like this happens. Most of them commit these acts so they can be known for something; this act will be their legacy. Everyone ignored them before, but they won’t ignore them now. Makes me wonder if anyone reached out to him, tried to figure out what was going on in his head and tried to talk to him about God’s love and grace.
We all have students in our small groups that are quiet and keep to themselves. I’m not at all saying they are in a league with the shooter in this incident, but they are the ones we really need to reach out to. They are the ones we need to spend extra time with and extra prayer for them.
It’s easy to spend time with the social kids in your group, with the “fun” students but they don’t need as much of our time as the quiet students. I like to pick out a student in the group to help me in this area. Let him know what I notice and have him spend some extra time with the quiet student. In short we need to go the extra mile to make those students feel like they belong and that they are very much a part of your small group.