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HOPE Channel Reacts to Germany School Shooting

HOPE Channel Reacts to Germany School Shooting

Seven years after the school massacre in Erfurt, another gunman went on a rampage in the town of Winnenden, which is north of Stuttgart in south-west Germany. Tim Kretschmer, the 17-year-old gunman, was a former student of Albertville Secondary School. Kr

March 19, 2009 | Birgit Kiepe-Grigat / CD EUD


Seven years after the school massacre in Erfurt, another gunman went on a rampage in the town of Winnenden, which is north of Stuttgart in south-west Germany. Tim Kretschmer, the 17-year-old gunman, was a former student of Albertville Secondary School. Kretschmer entered the school on March 11 wearing black combat gear and began shooting. Among the dead are nine students, eight of them girls, three teachers, also female, and three other passers-by. The gunman fled in a stolen car but killed himself after being cornered and wounded by police.

The Stimme der Hoffnung media center, which a week ago aired its first German Hope Channel program, showed its flexibility in programming and interest in global events by broadcasting several special programs on the shootings. “Since the shootings took place shortly after our broadcast premiere, this was the first ‘critical test for our new TV Channel,” said station manager Matthias Müller. In his talk show, Müller subtly managed to deal with the stirred emotions and confusion of many people and provided helpful suggestions about grieving. The special broadcast was aired twice on March 12 and was rebroadcast throughout the next three days.

HOPE Channel Radio also addressed the issue of teen rampage. The Channel used its live radio program for the young to discuss this topic. The Winnenden massacre was also discussed on the radio channel’s “Commentaries on Current Issues” program which aired Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14.

Pastor Klaus van Treeck, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Germany, said that he is thankful that through Adventist media it is possible to show people “that God cares - be it just by expressing our sympathy and by being there, especially in times when everybody feels so helpless.” Pastor van Treeck also wondered if anybody would think sympathetically of the teenage killer’s parents or relatives.

“The teenage killer’s deadly deed leaves us all stunned and speechless,” stated Gunther Machel, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Germany. “On behalf of our Church, we extend our deep sympathy to the families of the victims as well as to the students and teachers of Albertville Secondary School in Winnenden. We also recognize that it is a big challenge to provide real support and assistance to adolescents who seek advice and guidance. We should all think about the real values of life and have the courage to go against any misguided developments in today’s society,” Machel emphasized.

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