When Will the Gun Violence End?

Dear People’s Community,

I hardly have words. Another horribly tragic shooting of school children. When does it stop? When do we come to our senses?

Of course, we should pray for all those broken hearts whose lives will never be the same.

Of course, we should pray for the wounded.

Of course, we should pray for the families and friends, and for the school.

Yet, as I said in a sermon a few months ago, we must do more. The ability to defend oneself, or hunt, or shoot for sport does not depend on the freedom to own assault rifles. The assault rifle ban was lifted in 2004 and the carnage from mass shootings in our country has risen dramatically.

I was told recently that a pastor should not address such things, but I cannot be silent.

Below is a quote from an article I read this morning entitled, “Do We Love Our Guns More than Our Children?”

 by Tess Taylor, Updated 9:01 AM ET, Thu February 15, 2018

“In the US, we alone bear this burden and this fear: Of the 23 richest nations in the world, according to a 2011 study, we now have 87% of the gun violence, and according to the Journal of TRAUMA Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 87% of children killed by guns are killed here. Think of it: across the world, 87% of the children killed by guns are killed here, in our country. Breathe into that fact. Imagine all those bright bodies, all the bodies you can, the noses, the eyelashes, the hopes.

When my son looks at me and tries to ask why this is the case, I cannot think what to tell him. I can only believe that for now at least, we are a country that continues to keep loving our guns more than we love our children; that we put our guns above the health of our children, and above the health of each other.

We live in a country where we do not even allow the CDC to study gun violence as the epidemic it is; where we cannot pass the simplest ban on automatic rifles.”

As I said, I was told recently that a pastor should not address such things, but I cannot be silent. Jesus stood up to the Empire, the authorities, and the influences that threatened the well-being of the people; the well-being of the little, the least, the lost, and the last. Will we?  Do we have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and support a ban on weapons designed to kill as many human beings as possible with one pull of the trigger?

This is about much more than mental instability. Blaming a person’s mental state each time a horrific shooting tragedy occurs does not address the proliferation of assault rifles in this country. This is about the well-being of our people.

I must speak and I hope you understand it is from a position of compassion and justice especially for our children. It is from a position of following the One who asked us to love one another and had the courage to speak truth to power, sacrificing himself for God’s love in the world.

I ask us to pray and to act. Call your Congressional representatives, if you agree. If not, bless you, for reading this.

Praying for those heart-broken parents, for those grieving friends, for those teachers, for civil conversations, and especially for those children who never imagined their lives would end because they simply went to school,

Pastor Linda


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