A small town just west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is devastated after a 12-year-old girl allegedly shot her father and herself as part of a murder-suicide pact she made with a friend. In a news release shared Thursday on Facebook, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office said the girl and her 38-year-old father were both hospitalized after the shooting Wednesday in Weatherford, Texas. No update was given on their condition. According to the release, the 12-year-old was found in the middle of the street at about 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday. “Sheriff’s deputies were called to a shooting and located a 12-year-old female lying in the street with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head,” the release said. “The juvenile’s 38-year-old father was located inside the family’s residence with a gunshot wound to the abdomen,” it said. “Both victims were transported to local hospitals by air ambulance.” Authorities said they believe the 12-year-old shot her father inside the house and then fled. She later shot herself with the firearm, a handgun, which was found underneath the young girl. The situation could have ended up far worse. The sheriff’s office said the 12-year-old was in contact with another juvenile in Lufkin, Texas, roughly 230 miles from Weatherford, according to NBC News. The girls had made a pact, according to authorities: They would kill their families and their pets. Then, they would run off to Georgia. The Weatherford girl intended to drive to Lufkin to pick up the other suspect. However, the Lufkin girl backed out of the plot. Neither of the girls was identified because they are juveniles. The father wasn’t named to protect the identity of his daughter. “Due to the injuries, the age of the juveniles and the sensitive case matter, information released regarding this case will be limited,” Parker County Sheriff Russ Authier said in a statement. No charges were announced for the 12-year-old. However, Parker County sheriff’s investigators have charged the girl from Lufkin with criminal conspiracy. Lufkin police are also investigating the matter. “It doesn’t matter if they live in a small town or a big city. Things like this can happen, unfortunately,” said Jessica Pebsworth, Lufkin communications director, according to KXAS-TV in Fort Worth. However, she did have advice for parents to keep these things from happening. “I will say that this case is definitely a time to remind parents that it’s very important to know who your children are friends with, whether that’s in the classroom, social media apps, Snapchat, TikTok and then also gaming platforms,” Pebsworth said. What could be behind an act like this? In the replies to the sheriff’s office media release, the prevalent assumption was that the parents must have borne some responsibility. “I hope someone is looking into the home life. There has to be more to this story or some kind of motivation. A happy, cared for child with attentive parents wouldn’t [have] done this,” one user said. “Check into how they were being treated,” said another. Another line of thinking was that, well, this is just who kids are these days. “It sounds like these two may have just wanted a way to be together or something along those lines,” a Facebook user said. “I do know that kids are easily pressured by others kids and the internet, social media, TV shows, movies, and music have a way of changing them. Let’s not immediately go after the parents, there are soooo many other things it could have been.” This, alas, is what investigators are for. There was one comment that caught my eye, though — and it would have almost seemed antagonistic, were it not so true: “It is going to keep getting bad if people don’t wake up and put GOD in the center of everything.” Exactly. We don’t know what abuse, emotional or physical, was foisted upon these alleged conspirators, if any. We don’t know if they were just more victims of the nihilistic, algorithmic electronic chasm. We don’t know if they were influenced by movies or music or true crime podcasts or undiagnosed mental illness or all of the above or none of the above. [firefly_poll] We do know one thing that was apparently absent from the center of these lives: the love, the truth and the fear of the Lord. We attribute so much of the West’s modern sickness to its symptoms: violent media, division, alienation, purposelessness, stress, abuse, divorce, education, laws that are too strict, laws that aren’t strict enough. The illness, however, is not the symptoms. As a society, and as individuals, we’ve increasingly become spiritually rootless, either by choice or by accident. And thus, the weed of evil is allowed to grow uncontrolled in the garden of our soul, choking out the tree of life within us. We pray for everyone involved in this wretched situation. But moreover, we pray for America and the world — and that God will fill the void that triumphed in so many lives. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.