Her name was Josephine. She was 3 years old. This was not the only gravestone of a child in the cemetery. I also found Annie’s grave nearby. She died at 1 year old. I do not know Josephine’s story or Annie’s story, and I can only imagine the grief of losing children so young. Their births likely brought great hope and promise. Their deaths would have brought deep sorrow and despair.
I may not know the cause of death for Jospephine and Annie, but I do know the cause of death of the 18 children and 4 adults who were murdered in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. They were brutally shot down by an 18 year old who had just earlier that day killed his own grandmother.
Reason fails me when I try to grasp how this could happen. What evil could so fill the heart and mind of a young man to do something like this? That he died in a shootout with law enforcement officers only brings the comfort of knowing that no one else died at his hand. This was pure evil birthed in the pits of hell. Perhaps one day we will have some clue as to how it took such deep root in his heart.
Jesus loved children. He rebuked his disciples when they tried to shoo them away. Jesus took little ones in His arms and blessed them. He called His followers to be like children. He said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. This school shooting and sadly so many others like it show an utter disregard for life – and most especially the lives of the most vulnerable and precious in our nation.
So, today we pray for the families, for the community, and for our nation. We pray for the classmates who witnessed their little friends being gunned down and for the parents who will hold them as they cry tonight. We pray for the family of the shooter as they bear their own grief and wonder what they might have done differently. We grieve. We weep. We cry out to God to make it all stop.
The arguments will go on regarding gun control, law enforcement in schools, arming teachers, unbridled violence in video games, and the like, and all the while these families and community will somehow go on even with the horror of this day now etched in their minds and with wounded hearts that have a piece forever torn from them.
One Twitter response said, “We can be better.” Yes, we can, but will we?
“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)