I live just a short drive from Chardon High School, where a 17-year-old boy shot and killed three of his classmates and wounded others in February.
As a former TV news reporter, I paid attention to the news coverage of the school shooting, and I kept my ears open to conversations in the supermarkets, on the streets and at the gym.
I heard people blame the shooter's parents, the Internet, the school, the gun laws and bullying.
But in the end, no one could give satisfactory answers to why a boy would take a gun to school and open fire on other children and to why some children died while others survived.
The media couldn't answer the questions either, and, in my opinion, it didn't spend much time trying.
Unfortunately, the media and our society have become somewhat desensitized to school shootings; we're not as shocked by them, and we certainly don't talk about them as long as we did or with the same fervor as we did in 1999, when two seniors killed 12 students and one teacher before turning the guns on themselves at Columbine High School in Colorado.
While our shock has petered down from a jolt to a jerk, our reactions are better because schools and emergency workers now train for school shootings.
Thankfully, our responses are also more empathetic. I heard a lot of people show compassion for the shooter's grandparents, who had been raising the boy.
The boy's grandparents still have to live in Chardon, shoulder to shoulder with families whose children died at the hand of their grandson.
Just consider how hard it would be for those grandparents simply to go to the grocery store after that, some said.
Like many other moms around the country that day, I wondered, "What if it happens at my child's school?" and "How am I going to explain this to him?" I never had to because my son, who is in kindergarten, still doesn't know what happened.
Although police and grief counselors were brought into his school as a precautionary measure, he didn't notice them. He's innocent for now, but someday he'll know that we live in a world where kids kill other kids. And if he asks me why, here's what I'll tell him.
"A long time ago, God created the earth, and it was a beautiful, perfect place. He was happy with the earth and with the people He created. But He didn't make man (or woman) His puppets; He gave them choices, and they chose to disobey God, bringing the first sin into the world. That was the saddest day the world has ever known because since then, sin has touched everything and everyone.
"It's not fair that kids died in Chardon, but unfortunately other people's sin affects us. God was sad the day of the shooting because He hates sin. But He will forgive the shooter, if the shooter asks for forgiveness, because He is a loving God. If the shooter doesn't ask God for forgiveness, he will be eternally judged because God is also a just God."
A simple explanation? Maybe, but pointing our fingers at the shooter's parents, the Internet, the school, the gun laws or bullying doesn't fully explain why something like this happened.
We have to go back to the beginning - to Genesis - to find the ultimate answer.
- Shasta Clark is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.