Last week I talked about lighting a candle rather than to curse the darkness. Well this week it got even darker and the cursing got louder. The atmosphere feels almost hopeless with news of just the latest in a long run of gun deaths followed by “thoughts and prayers” followed by the now obligatory candlelight vigils followed by little action beyond that. The cycle will repeat itself all over again after the next “event”. Some mornings I dread reading the news. Just an aside, who really needs an assault weapon for domestic protection? Did the writers of the Bill of Rights have in mind the type of weapon that was recently used in California? In some areas of the United States it’s easier to get a gun than to register to vote. But we all know such comparative statistics by now, don’t we? I’m just wondering out loud. I know there is a lot of anger out there. But I also just wonder if we’ll ever get so used to another murder or mass shooting that it will become just a way of life like the weather. Some have even devised a benchmark for calling a shooting a “mass killing” or simply “mass shooting.”
From Wikipedia: “The United States FBI uses the term “mass killings,” originally defined as the murder of four or more people with no cooling off period but redefined by Congress in 2013 as including murder of three or more people. According to CNN, a mass shooting is defined as having four or more fatalities, not including gang killings or slayings that involve the death of multiple family members.”
I guess according to the FBI a “cooling off period” is when the gunmen reload or have a coffee or cigarette before returning to the task of killing more people. Mmmm I wonder why gang killings don’t fall into this category. Maybe because they have become more common and, you know, the victims are minorities and stuff. However when it becomes common to pick up a gun to solve differences in lieu of talking things out, there doesn’t seem to be much hope does there? Perhaps my naiveté is showing when I still hold onto a shred of hope. Someone who is smarter than I out there probably has a workable solution. I still believe that anger, as well as other strong emotions is an impediment to the making of rational decisions. Anger that is stoked over the airwaves about perceived or even real differences among peoples is never a good thing. Nothing good comes from it. Even Erik Erikson’s shooting of the front page of the New York Times, juvenile as it was, was commented on by gun owners who laughed at his sloppy marksmanship.
Yesterday’s Gospel for the second Sunday in Advent perhaps offers a possible solution:
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
The feeling of being “troubled and abandoned” is what is floating around the world today. Angry vitriol toward Muslim gun persons and especially Muslim refugees, stokes the fires of religious hatred via the “us” vs “them” syndrome. The trouble with these characterizations is that they are painted with a broad brush to include everyone of “them”. Some of us, not all, feel justified in spurning their plight or even picking up a gun as an extension of that anger. Again, I only hope this never ever becomes common place. We definitely need more “laborers” working the “harvest” of peace. Be one. The time is right to sow justice because eventually the harvest is peace. Now, what do we do about the culture of violence? Keep talking about it to find some solutions, don’t end the discussion with the blast of a gun.
and so it goes…