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Stop Praying...

...Until YOU Are Willing To Act!!!

All of us who have our hearts and heads in the right place have had enough. We are past being sick and tired of our innocent and unsuspecting youngsters going to school and not coming back home because, yet another massacre has taken their lives. The people who have been elected to lead us need to get to the business of doing whatever it takes to change this horrible pattern that is running wild in the streets of our country. And if they cannot or will not do it, we should send them all home and elect the folks who will get it done.

Last week it was people in Buffalo being shot on a Saturday afternoon while trying to buy groceries along with another shooting in California, and there have been far too many of them since this year began. In fact, there have been one hundred and ninety-eight according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is defined as one where four or more persons are shot or killed excluding the shooter. In 2019, there were four hundred and seventeen, 2020 six-hundred and eleven, and six-hundred and ninety-three in 2021.

Now Uvalde, Texas’ Robb Elementary School has lost twenty-one persons in a mass shooting. Nineteen children and two adults as of today. Along with this the shooter, a youngster himself, an eighteen-year-old, who appears to have been rather troubled from the small amount of information that has been shared about him. It appears to be time to pay attention to the fact that many of these shootings are being planned and implemented by young men.

The Buffalo, New York shooter was eighteen also, Dylan Roof was twenty-one.And many of those engaging in this senseless expression of violence are young men under twenty-five. They are usually persons who have demonstrated behavioral warning signs that are ignored or at least minimized by the people close to them. We like to tell ourselves that they had some type of psychological breakdown and went out on a killing spree. But it appears that is not generally the case, they have made careful plans for their upcoming planned killing sprees and often talk about it to their friends and others who are close to them. In spite of those warning signs, it seems that there is a fair amount of denial operating in their various spheres and the warning signs are ignored.

It is reasonable to call law enforcement if someone, who has not had weapons, announces that he has guns and ammunition when you know that guns and ammunition are not toys. Along with this it is important to pay attention to what all of our youngsters are doing each day, and especially in cases such as with this shooter, when they seemed to have less than an ideal life.

It is time for all of us to decide if we are content to continue to live with these tragic shootings while throwing up our hands proclaiming that we are sending our thoughts and prayers to family members. In some ways this seems much like sitting in the middle of the kitchen praying for food for a meal when the refrigerator is filled to capacity, and someone needs just get up to cook dinner. While it is always good to ask God to be present, it is time for us to stop doing nothing about guns and gun violence and calling on God when another group of people lose their lives without doing what we can to prevent it.

Uvalde, TX - May 24, 2022

Buffalo, N Y - May 14, 2022

Charleston, SC - June 17, 2015

Newton, CT (Sandy Hook) - December 14, 2012

While I do not find myself particularly concerned about 2nd Amendment rights when it comes to the right of a person to have their life protected, especially when we are talking about our children, I do support the right of folks who use guns for hunting and for sports, other than trying to make murder into a sport, to have guns if they so wish. But we should be able to figure out how to make that possible without having to live with the absolute horror that we have unleashed in our land now by acting as if we care more about guns than we do the lives of our citizens.

It is true that it is people who kill, but guns help to make it easier to kill and there is far too much one-on-one killing in our cities as well, trading stories about our citizens killing one another one at a time and being killed as a way to justify allowing guns and violence to ruin the land makes no sense.

This, like many of our other challenges, is an issue that we can address if we decide that we care enough about it to do so. It is far past the time for those who have the power to get guns off the street to do so. We need to be more careful about who can purchase a gun. We need to put a stop to whatever process continues to fuel the illegal gun traffic. Along with this we need to become much more serious about addressing the mental health of all of our citizens with special attention being paid to these young people who seem to be so easily victimized by conspiracists and other older white men who are getting them to go out and do what they do not have the courage to do. And parents who are found to be complicit in helping their sons to do these horrible acts need to be held accountable.

All of us need to interrogate ourselves about the ways in which we relate to violence. We need not to let it become a source of entertainment in the movies and television programs that we view. It is important to reduce our capacity to engage violence as if it deserves to be respected. All of us are responsible to help heal our nation of this horrible plague of violence and mass murders, and we need to spend time exploring how best to do our part.

Can we find the courage needed? How many more have to die before we decide to change?

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