As I think we all are, I’m overwhelmed with shock and grief at the killing in Las Vegas.
There are many who say now is not the time to talk about finding ways to reduce the chances of yet another mass killing happening in the future. But as many others are asking, if not now, when?
As usually happens, the focus is on this event, rather than the underlying causes and conditions. Why does our society feel the need for guns, so many guns? In a time when people hunted for food, having a gun for that purpose may have made sense to some.
But it is a tremendous failure of society today that people feel they need a tool that can so easily take a life, for their protection. A tool that tragically even children can and do accidently kill with.
As people whose lives are based upon nonviolence and loving our neighbor we have to create better ways to live together. While it has been proven there really are many ways to help reduce gun violence through legislation, it is also true that is not the complete answer.
A large part of that answer is building Beloved community.
One of the important steps in building community is to acknowledge past injustices. These past several days we have heard the qualification “the largest mass shooting (in modern history)”. I think it is important to acknowledge, unfortunately, numerous occasions in the history of this country when even larger numbers of people, people of color, and Native Americans, were killed.
Evoking the question “what would Jesus do?” often makes me uncomfortable, usually because of the context in which people are doing so. But I find myself pondering that question today.
I believe he would do exactly what you are doing, what Natives are doing, what people of color are doing in their various communities, what people in the LGBT community are doing–to build bridges of understanding, dialogue, and change. Keep up the good work, Jeff and know that many of us are with you in solidarity and in prayer for your success and safety. My days of social activism are largely over, but I will continue to keep myself informed, and to work through meditation to change myself. For we cannot change anything without first changing ourselves.
Thanks Eleanor. You are right about first changing ourselves.