There Is Something We Can Do

The message of Ash Wednesday has never been so painfully illustrated as it was yesterday. When clergy talk of facing our own mortality on the first day of Lent, we are generally speaking metaphorically, but for parents and students in Parkland, Florida, it was tragically literal.

Every time another school or mass shooting occurs in our country, an Onion article entitled ‘No Way to Prevent This’ Says the Only Nation where this regularly happens    pops up all over social media. And it simply highlights how insane it is that our young people are dying, and we do nothing to keep it from happening again and again and again.

There is something we can do, but it will involve listening to each other. It seems like every time we began to engage in a conversation about gun control, it ends up in a virtual screaming match of platitudes.

“Nobody needs access to automatic weapons!”

“Gun control now!”

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people!”

“Better mental health screening/coverage/help!”

“Background checks!”

“Give the good guys a gun!”

And we toss statistics and scripture back and forth and nothing ever happens. And more children die.

I must confess, I’ve pretty much given up on us doing anything about guns after the massacre at Sandy Hook didn’t bring about any changes or reforms. If an attack on little kids won’t cause us to do things differently, what will?

I’ve defaulted to waiting on divine intervention–like a series of plagues befalling the congresspeople who take money from the NRA or the miraculous disappearance of all the bullets in the world. But sitting around waiting on the world to change has never been very effective.

Perhaps I am being naive, but I have to believe that no matter where we stand on gun control or the root causes of violence, no one wants more of our young people to die at the hands of people wielding weapons.

Can we engage in some real conversations with people who have different ideas about how to solve the problem and see if there are some common parameters we can all agree on?  They have to be concrete, actual actions that we can take. “Strengthen the nuclear family” or “raise kids right” are not policies or procedures that we can activate.  

Surely there are ways to protect our children that gun rights activists and pacifists can agree on.  We all love our children. We don’t want to lose any more than we already have.

May we find common ground in the love we have for our children and be able take action, make changes and make a world where our most valuable resources aren’t gunned down simply trying to get to class.


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