Dadeville tragedy hits close to home

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By Vicki Scott

There was no mention of the Dadeville shooting in last week’s column because I did not know any details. On April 15, a mass shooting during a Sweet 16 party at a local dance studio in downtown Dadeville killed four teenagers and injured 32 people, with four remaining in critical condition. To date, six arrests have been made.

My next-door neighbors are members of First Baptist Church of Dadeville. The have teenage grandchildren, and it was difficult to not go over to their home. First Baptist pastor Ben Hayes posted on Facebook about sitting in the hospital parking lot until 3 a.m. waiting with the broken-hearted families of these young people. That was my first knowledge of this horrific incident.

We saw our neighbor make a circle in our driveway a short time later and ran up to ask questions. His oldest grandchild is 16 years old and could have been at that party if he had not been invited to another event.

Our daughter Eva called and was concerned that she could not get in touch with her friend who taught school at Dadeville High School last year. Her friend found out that one of her favorite students was one of the victims who lost his life. She did not want to talk to anyone, which was understandable.

Later that day, my son’s mother-in-law posted that she worked with the mother of one of the other children who lost her life. This young lady wanted to work with her mother but was too young, so she worked at our local supermarket. Anyone who had shopped there saw her beautiful face with a smile that made you feel good about life. This mother and daughter were very close, so close that with the mother’s health issues, the subject of death had been discussed. My heart is so broken for these people and others who are impacted by this.

Our oldest grandchild Ava Jaymes knew this child as well. She asked her Yia-Yia (my daughter-in-law’s mother) and found out what happened. It’s hard to explain these things to children about children they know.

When my mother passed away, our second grandchild Saylor Rhea proudly passed out mom’s funeral programs, pointing out that it was her grandma who was in heaven. Saylor saw it as an honor. She did not realize she would not get to see her great-grandmother anytime she wanted. She stopped passing out programs and proceeded to have a meltdown.

Our pastor at First Baptist Reeltown always says that we’re better together, and this past week he ministered to students at Dadeville High School along with many other pastors, including some from Etowah County. Pastor was pretty shaken up when he discovered that he knew one of the shooters. He remembered praying over him and loving on him in the past, and I do not want to imagine what he is feeling. We can witness and pray, but it is up to the individual.

This past Sunday, our pastor preached on dealing with disappointment. He said we could either get mad and send blame bombs, or we could find strength and direction in God.

The lady who ran the dance studio where the shooting took place lost her business. As an outsider looking in, running a small business is tough, and most owners put everything they have in it. I saw the posts of her business and thought about checking it out, but I never had the chance. The studio had wonderful programs for young people, and I’m constantly checking for things I can do with my grandchildren. Hopefully, she can start back at some point. All I can suggest to her is give it to God and try to stay at Jesus’ feet as did Mary Magdalene while she washed His feet with expensive oil and dried them with her hair. There were blame bombs exploding everywhere while she did this, but she stayed at His feet and did not give a rip about what the others said, only Jesus. Pray and follow Jesus’ lead. I did, and it changed my life for the better as long as I remain obedient to Him.

Most funerals quote Psalms 23, which makes me cry every time I hear it because it holds truths in death and life. Our pastor also quoted Psalms 34:8. While reading it over again, I noticed that verses 15-18 spoke to me concerning all that recently happened:

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

My heart goes out to all who have been impacted by the Dadeville tragedy. I do not feel worthy to write anything about it. To my knowledge, I did not know anyone myself. All I know is that God will carry us all through this and that we are better together. Please continue to pray for all those impacted. but in God, we are #Dadeville Strong!

Vicki Scott may be contacted at lily200383@yahoo.com.

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