Mourning is Not Enough: LCWR Calls for Action to Prevent Gun Violence
On February 14, 2018 a very troubled 19-year-old took an AR-15 assault rifle to Marjory Stoneman High School and opened fire killing 14 students and three staff members. The shooting was a horrible tragedy that has become all too familiar to students, teachers, and parents across the country.
The heartbreak in Parkland, Florida is far too common. A recent study of World Health Organization data published in the American Journal of Medicine found that, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 who were killed by bullets lived in the United States. Guns are linked to roughly 33,000 deaths in the United States per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; about two-thirds of them are suicides.
Where is the outrage? Have we become immune to the horror? Why are elected officials unwilling to confront the epidemic of gun violence that is sweeping the nation? When will the killing stop?
Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Parkland even as we continue to mourn with those in Orlando, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Charleston, Newtown, Columbine, Sutherland Springs, and in countless other cities and towns across this nation who have lost loved ones to gun violence. We grieve with mothers and fathers whose children were victims of senseless killing made easy by the proliferation of guns and the pervasive culture of violence.
There is much to mourn, but mourning is not enough. Prayers and condolences are not enough. The killing must stop. It is well past time that we enacted sensible gun violence prevention legislation. This is not about protecting the second amendment. It is about protecting the most precious resource we have, the gift of life.
We call on our elected officials to immediately take up legislation that:
- requires universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases;
- bans civilian ownership of high-capacity weapons and magazines; and
- makes gun trafficking a federal crime.
We commend the young people of Parkland for taking up the important work of gun violence prevention. We will stand with you as you advocate for legislation that will save lives. We will join you in the March 24 “March for Our Lives.” We will walk with you as together we seek to put an end to violence and follow the path of peace.
In this Lenten season as we recall the life Jesus, the Christ, let us pray for the grace to embrace his way of nonviolence and let us never doubt that the deep darkness of these days will be overcome by the radiant light of our lives and actions lived in love.
Sad, Tired and Angry: A Prayer in the Face of Gun Violence
by James Martin S.J.
I come before you,
after another shooting.
I am sad, God.
So I ask you
to receive into your loving care the souls of those who were killed,
to care for those who were wounded or hurt in any way,
to console the family members and friends of those who died or were wounded,
to strengthen the hands of the rescue workers, medical professionals and caregivers
I pray too for the shooter, as I must as a Christian.
All this makes me inexpressibly sad, God.
But I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.
It is the same sadness your son expressed
when he wept over the death of his friend Lazarus.
I know that the sadness I feel is your sadness.
I am tired, God.
I’m tired of the unwillingness to see this as an important issue.
I’m tired of those in power who work to prevent any real change.
I’m tired of those who say that gun violence can’t be reduced.
All this makes me tired.
But I know that the tiredness I feel is your tiredness.
It’s the same tiredness that Jesus felt after his own struggles against injustice
that led him to fall asleep on the boat with his disciples.
I am angry, God.
I’m angry at the seeming powerlessness of our community to prevent this.
I’m angry at the selfish financial interests who block change.
I’m angry that these shootings happen at all.
But I know that this anger is your anger
It’s the same anger Jesus felt when he overturned the tables in the Temple,
angry that anyone would be taken advantage of in any way.
Help me see in these feelings as the way that you move me to act.
Help me see in these emotions your own desire for change.
Help me see in these feelings your moving me to act.
Help me see in these reactions your pushing me to do something.
Because I know this is the way you move people to action.
And I know that you desire action.
For Jesus did not stand by while people were being hurt.
He plunged into their lives.
So help me to answer these questions:
How can I help?
How can I fight against gun violence?
How can I urge my political leaders to enact change?
How can I help people understand that this is an issue about life?
I am sad over the loss of life,
tired of excuses for the loss of life,
and angry that we are paralyzed by the loss of life.
Turn my sadness into compassion.
Turn my tiredness into advocacy.
Turn my paralysis into the freedom to act.
to be compassionate,
and to act,
as your son did,