Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Praying for Norway, praying for guidance

In the days since the horrific bombing and mass shooting in Norway, I've been thinking a lot about how all of the baby gates, car seats, Internet monitoring, curfews, lectures, etc. in the world can't protect our children completely.  Of course we have to do these things, but really is the peace of mind it brings just a smoke screen?  The truth is that no one can anticipate and/or prevent all dangers posed to our kids.  Those teenagers were at a well-run, organized camp.  They weren't walking the streets late at night, they weren't engaging in risky behaviors, they weren't involved in anything illegal.  And yet, 68 people on that island are dead.  We've seen it before in school shootings, in repeated natural disasters, and in car accidents, etc, but it never fails to hit home.  Today I read the following text message exchange between a mother and her daughter who was attending the camp (excerpt from MSNBC)

"Mummy, tell the police to come quick. People are dying here,” her 16-year-old daughter Julie wrote in a text message from Norway’s Utoya island on Friday.

Like many of the young people attending a Labor Party camp on the island, Julie Bremnes was carrying a cell phone, enabling her to reach her mom while Anders Berhing Breivik was on a 90-minute shooting rampage, killing dozens of people. Her exchange with her mother, released on Wednesday, gives a glimpse into the long, terrifying wait for help.

“The police know,” Marianne Bremnes, 46, texted her daughter. “They’ve had many calls. Give a sign of life every five minutes.”

Julie, was hiding under a rock with three friends while Breivik roamed the island, shooting people as they cowered, ran, or tried to swim for safety.

“We are in fear of our lives,” Julie texted.

Mother: “I understand. Stay hidden.”
As the wait for rescue dragged on, the text conversation seemed a preparation for the worst.

Julie: “I love you even if I still misbehave from time to time."

Mother: “I know that my darling. We love you very much.”

The exchange went on for about 90 minutes.
...Julie and her three friends were rescued, physically unharmed.

Can you imagine how time would stop, knowing your child was hiding from a murderer under a rock with no

My grandmother was a proud "Norwegie," as she would say, and I'm her proud granddaughter.  I'm praying for the people in that normally peaceful country and I'm praying for all of us to identify and treat mental illness, and to stem the tide of extremist acts and violence. 

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