Published on March 7, 2012 | by Gabe Arnold1
What to Do with T.J. Lane
Monday, February 27th, changed the world for our home town. What we had only seen on the news from distant places was suddenly dragged into our lives with incredible force and destruction. A tornado of chaos took away innocent lives and burned moments of horror into the minds of teachers and students who witnessed a scene that they will never forget. The hearts of parents everywhere were struck with sadness and fear as they wondered if they would ever see their children again.
I clearly remember the day that I heard about the Columbine shootings, and in the back of my mind I said, “That’ll never happen here; this is Geauga County.” But Monday proved me terribly wrong. Within minutes, the town of Chardon had more satellite news antennas thrust into the sky than it has ever seen before.
From that moment forward, Chardon High School became breaking news across the entire country. A close friend was with me that morning, whose husband works for the sheriff’s office, and she was the first to tell me about the news. I was receiving real time accurate updates about what was happening without having to turn on the news.
When I finally did turn on the news for a few minutes, it was difficult to watch the thirsty horde of opportunistic reporters swarming the victims looking for blood. I cannot describe those images any differently. While our brave and beloved law enforcement and emergency medical services teams worked with all their hearts to protect and serve our community, there were people there whose sole focus was to capture the moments of horror in real time. Seeing that disturbed my soul to its deepest core.
I am one of the founders of Geauga News, and our primary mission is to spread positive local news. Why is that so important to me? Because I feel the evil moments of this world are glorified way beyond measure. I understand that traditional media outlets have a job to do, but how far will someone go in an attempt to be the first to report on some heinous piece of horror? These words of discouragement will be some of the very few that you will ever read here from our Geauga News community. But even as a “soft” positive news source, it is impossible to go without saying something about the tragedy that we have been faced with as a community.
So What to Do with T.J. Lane?
After absorbing some of the shock that day, I posted this on my Facebook wall:
Today is a sad reminder of the evil that can appear around us in a moment’s notice and snuff out innocent life. Thank God for the brave teacher who was willing to face death and protect the rest of those students.
Let us all remember to teach our children bravery. Be brave in confronting problems early on, be brave in teaching your kids coping skills for this difficult life, and be brave in blowing the whistle before it’s too late.
That teacher can live knowing they did their best when it mattered most, and because of that, saved lives. Teach your children courage by being courageous yourself.
My deepest sympathies and prayers are with all the students and parents in Chardon. May God be with you all.
What else can be said? The terrible events leave little room for explanation, and leave us wondering why did this happen? What do we do with T.J. Lane? We must model the bravery it takes to forgive someone so lost. We cannot let this dark day be the end of the story. Together we can find that:
Even in the Darkest Moments We Find Hope
One of the things that has been the most encouraging to me during all of this, is the outpouring of love and support that I immediately saw everywhere around me. Within hours, my entire Facebook wall was filled with red and black profile pictures supporting Chardon. The village of Chardon, along with all the surrounding towns, were also immediately covered with red and black ribbons.
As time has passed, we have seen countless images like this:
What’s Next from Geauga News?
What can you expect to find on Geauga News about this? In upcoming weeks, you will see the stories of the wonderful hope and strength that our community is demonstrating to everyone involved. In the few short words here, I haven’t even begun to touch on the moments of grace and love that God showed us that day, and as we move forward, we’ll see more positive stories about:
- The gifts of life that those who passed gave when they donated their organs
- The bravery of Coach Frank Hall
- How the Chardon Healing Fund is used to minister to those who were affected
- Many more positive uplifting stories
It will take time to find the right words to describe how I really feel about such a life changing day like we had last Monday. Although I understand that not all news is positive, I truly believe that, together as a community, we will continue to promote and provide the best positive news that can come from what started out as a very dark day. Thank you for being a significant part of our community.
Do you have a story of hope to share? Post it in the comments below.
By Gabe Arnold