WEST PADUCAH, KY: WHEN THE SILENCE FELL

A TRAGIC SHOOTING IN KENTUCKY REVEALS A CURIOUS AND POIGNANT FRIENDSHIP--AND THE FAITH OF A SMALL TOWN

On the Monday morning when the shootings took place, Benjamin Strong was at the breakfast table, munching on Froot Loops and listening to his father, a preacher, read from the book of Proverbs. In his heart, however, the 17-year-old was pondering the words of a classmate. "Don't be at prayer circle on Monday," Michael Carneal had told Strong on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Carneal was a bit of a misfit at Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky., one who occasionally wore ill-fitting, loud-colored clothes and had a couple of disciplinary problems (browsing the Playboy Website, digging a sharp object into...

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