From Our Pastor, Rev. Gloria Smith
As I sat down to start my ponderings for April, the breaking news of the Boulder, Colorado mass shooting caught my attention. As many of you have thought or heard, the Boulder shooting occurred less than a week after the Atlanta shooting and by two young adult males. What you probably did not hear, but I read on CNN.com in an article by Josh Berlinger, is that there were seven mass shootings in the United States this past week. (“CNN defines a mass shooting as: a shooting incident which results in four or more casualties [dead or wounded] excluding the shooter.”) These shootings span the geographical distance of the U.S.
Obviously, the article I planned was halted and my pondering centered on the violence continuing to occur throughout our nation. We grieve the dead and pray for healing for the injured but what is the total number of victims in each one of the seven shootings CNN reported this past week? We acknowledge the family members but what about: the witnesses, the law enforcement officers and first responders, the medical staff, neighbors and friends, area residents and the people who will return to the scene (grocery store) when it reopens. Trauma and Tragedy fill the hearts, minds and spirits of hundreds to thousands of people.
The rest of us are left feeling saddened and helpless. As sad and helpless as I feel right now, I really do not want to lose that feeling if it means becoming numb to the tragedy of others. When I become numb, I will quit seeking ways to participate in ending the violence and consciously demonstrating non-violent methods of expressing frustration and disagreements. The acceptance of physical and emotional violence in our nation appears to be increasing as well as acceptance of military grade weapons as a means of individualism.
It is known that mental illnesses account for some of the violence but that is not a reason for all violent acts. Violence is a response to the violator’s bigotry and hatred. Violence is a part of a fast food and drive through mentality that wants to react and not mentally think through options and opportunities. Violence is a means to winning when it is valued beyond cooperation. Violence is the result of scared groups when encouraged and aggravated by people with power and popular on mass media. (All I can think of at this point if Sidney Powell legal defense team when they presented the defense that everything she expressed and promoted was non-factual and a reasonable person should have known not to take her seriously.) Yet, people with power and influence should be held accountable when they are asking people to follow their lead.
Even though we did not ask for the responsibility, everyone wanting to see our nation become a more tolerant and kinder society must take the initiative to learn ways to speak up when bigotry and hatred appears in front of us. We must also put in the effort to demand whatever actions are necessary at a local, state and national level to reduce gun violence and any form of violence. Without our actions and demands, we will continue to live in grief and hopelessness.
God’s blessings abide with you on your life journey,