Summary: Satan desires to isolate us to destroy us, but God desires to draw us to solitary places to restore and renew us.

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Solitary Places

Luke 8:26-39

In Santee, California a boy turned fifteen just a few weeks ago. While fifteen year old freshmen in high school are supposed to be studying for their math exams and trying out for the freshmen baseball team or getting ready for their next Debate Team competition, Andy Williams was planning on taking out as many of his classmates as possible. While fifteen-year-old freshmen are supposed to be talking to their girlfriends at night before they go to bed, Andy was talking to himself -- trying to figure out how he was going to pull off his devilish scheme to get back at those who had hurt him.

How does something like this happen? We’ve only asked that question dozens of times over the past several years as school violence has captured the headlines of newspapers, television news magazines, and radio talk shows. Those at Santana High School in Santee, California and those in Andy’s hometown of Knoxville, Maryland don’t understand how he could have done such a thing. Back in Maryland Andy was known as a happy-go-lucky kid. Andy’s best friend, Scott Bryan said, "It doesn’t make any sense at all. I’ve never seen Andy get mad at anyone." Scott remembers when the Columbine shootings happened in 1999 and how Andy thought that the shootings were so sad, a terrible thing to happen.

Art Fairweather, principal of Brunswick Middle School, said Andy Williams was on the honor roll there. "His grades were always good," he said. "He seemed to have a lot of friends, and he appeared to be well-adjusted."

How can a "good" kid, on the honor roll, seemingly well adjusted go off and take out his school? Well, some say he was picked on. Let me ask you something, what 9th grader is not picked on by upperclassmen? Being picked on, having big ears, or being skinny doesn’t explain how a child can arrive at a mental state where they take a gun and intentionally end the lives of their classmates.

On Wednesday night I was reading articles on the internet about Andy Williams when I stumbled onto some additional information that hasn’t gotten the publicity of Andy’s shooting spree. Let me share with you some other incidents that have recently taken place in the lives of young people - they should cause you and me to shutter.

* Williamsport, PA. A 13-year-old girl was hit in the shoulder when a 14-year-old girl began shooting at Bishop Neumann Junior-Senior High. Police said freshman Brent Paucke, 14, was able to persuade the girl to drop the gun. Paucke said he ducked under a lunchroom table when the girl came in screaming and fired two shots, but then recognized her from his school bus. "She was saying, ’I don’t want to live. I should just commit suicide right here.’ And she pointed the gun at her head," Paucke said.

* In the desert town of Twentynine Palms, two 17-year-old boys were arrested at their homes Tuesday night on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and civil rights violations. At one of the boys’ homes, deputies found a rifle. At the other, there was a list of 16 fellow students at Monument High that the pair planned to target, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokesman Chip Patterson said. The teens’ motives were unknown.

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