A Word on Recent Events
We all were heartbroken to learn of yet another mass shooting. During a peaceful protest on the streets of Dallas, twelve people were wounded and five law enforcement officers killed by a man who used a gun to express his hatred of others. Each time such an incident takes place, we are outraged and appalled and full of sorrow, and yet nothing is done to reduce the chance that such events would happen again.
The problem is much bigger than the headline events like Orlando, Charleston and Sandy Hook. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that on an average day 91 Americans are killed with guns: 7 are children and teens. Nearly two-thirds of firearm deaths are suicides. In an average month, 51 women are shot to death by intimate partners. America’s gun murder rate is more than 20 times the average of other developed countries. I know there are no simple answers to the problem of gun violence. However, I have come to the place where I know I need to do something. I find that I can’t simply accept the way things currently are.
The first thing I am doing is becoming more informed about the facts. A good place to start is to look at items prepared by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society (umc-gbcs.org). In May, the United Methodist General Conference overwhelmingly voted to support a resolution that is calling on us to end gun violence, suggesting we advocate for universal background checks on all gun purchases and for a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines and weapons designed to fire multiple rounds. You can find the full resolution at the Board of Church and Society website.
Second, I am committing myself to prayer. Prayer by itself will not be enough, but anything effort without prayer will surely fall short.
Third, I can express my concern and my desire to see meaningful change take place at the state and federal level. And in the meantime, I will make every effort to show concern and empathy towards others, especially those that are different from myself. Jesus calls us to show love, not just when it is easy, but also when it is difficult and costly and even when that love may not seem to make a difference.
I would be happy to know of others who would like to look in this matter more deeply and begin to work for some positive change.
Grace and peace,