Last Sunday we lit a candle for the victims of the Atlanta area shootings. As I lit that candle, I noted that while we had heard much about these deaths, many others die each day from gun violence. During Joys and Sorrows, a member lit a candle for losses due to suicide, noting these deaths often go unacknowledged.
This coming Sunday we will again light a candle recognizing horrific murders, this time at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
Our hearts ache. We can imagine the pain of each loved one dealing with loss. We can imagine the trauma to these communities. I add my prayers to the many holding these communities in care.
Our compassion has value, yet it is not the change we need. As a country, the United States has, by far, more mass murders than other countries. Guns are readily accessible. It’s a choice we’ve made to have lethal, often military-type, weapons readily accessible. Other countries make other choices. In the aftermath of such events, from Newtown to Parkland (and so many more), we see the federal gun policy debate take center-stage, hit a stalemate, and then fade. Will this time be different? I’m encouraged by groups which help us stay engaged and sustain a long-term focus on change.
Beyond policies and laws, we need to address the culture of violence which underlies society. We need to understand the roots of violence. We need to consider the role of hatred and bigotry. We need to consider where we in effect ‘teach’ and glorify violence. Where can we find other paths to resolve conflict and frustration?
More questions than answers, I know. I encourage us to hold firm in a belief that what we witness day after day, year over year, doesn’t need to be this way. Violence lived out through the use of guns does not need to be this way.
We can make other choices.