New York Times article.
The article describes the boy in this way:
Several students said the shooter was called “Jack Black” by others because he resembled the actor in the movie “The School of Rock,” and was a bit loud like the actor. He favored Goth fashions, they said, and he walked with a bit of a limp that some kids made fun of. Earlier in the week, some of them said, he had gotten into a fight with another student, over whether or not there was a god, and both had been suspended.
There are many difference sides to this story that will unfold in the following days. No doubt what was spurred at Columbine is being repeated again and again. Cleveland weeps today. Thankfully, apart from the gunman, nobody else was killed.
What immediately came into my head when I first read this was why the boy was suspended in the first place: "He had gotten into a fight with another student, over whether or not there was a god."
This does not surprise me. With all the hype about teen development today and parenting and everything else, few are addressing students in the deeper areas of questions they are asking, especially when it comes to God and God's purposes for this world. "Is God There?" is one of the popular questions I get on the road and forms one of the chapters in my book. We need to be addressing students where their questions are hottest and in ways they can understand. From there, maybe new vistas in their souls will open up and new conversations will be made. Maybe they will see the universe isn't empty.
Who knows yet the exact frustration in this gunman's soul or what his home was like. But what we can see is that even at 14, he's sophisticated enough to know and understand that the world is complex and often difficult to deal with as you live with questions.