Californians have only begun to recover from weeks of ferocious rainstorms that flooded homes and smashed piers and levees. This week, in less than three days, at least 19 people were killed in mass shootings in California which has the stringent gun law and the lowest gun death rate in the nation. I’m exhausted, angry, and sick to the pit of my stomach. Only in America where we watch helplessly and the paralysis of our nation to do anything about the daily occurrence of mass shootings and the mounting toll of gun violence. This has become an achingly familiar scene in a nation where mass gun violence is a constant drumbeat. Sad to say it has devolved into America’s favorite pastime. We have be-come numb, indifferent, and resigned to accept it as a norm. What is the difference between ignorance, apathy, and ambivalence? Answer: I don’t know and I don’t care one way or another.
I am envious of Australia and New Zealand where after each of their mass shootings both nations promptly passed their robust gun safety laws that put us to shame. It is true that no other nation in the world has gun violence like we do here in America. We have criminally insane number of guns in the hands of people. We have more guns than the entire population in America.
Here is the irony. The guns we purchase to protect ourselves and our loved ones statistically shown to be used against our own families and against ourselves through self-inflicted harm. People can be notoriously unreliable, and at times, unstable. One day you are sane and the next day you go insane. When you purchase a gun, it automatically raises the probability that you yourself or family members might either be wounded or die resulting from the gun. I can attest to the fact that I won’t be here today if it wasn’t for an onerous California gun purchase policy when I was clinically depressed with suicide ideation. I didn’t have the energy and the mental capacity to undergo FBI background check, fingerprinting, waiting period, and gun safety training.
So the injunction from Jesus: “Put away the sword! All who live by the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem, saying, “If you had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42)
If there is a political will our nation can pass sweeping federal gun safety laws. We profess to live in a democratic country with a representative government. But sadly we elect leaders in our government who won’t lift a finger to pass a federal sane gun law. It’s apropos to say, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We put ‘em there who represent us.
I shake my heads in incredulity when I see people wearing T-shirts with the slogan “God, Coun-try, Guns.” As Christians, we profess to follow Jesus who was a peacemaker and a fierce advo-cate for nonviolence. As Christians, we have a moral obligation to act in the face of what some blithely call the new normal of mass shooting in America. Nor should we fall for the siren call for more guns in public places and schools in the hands of teachers and students, the unproven good-guy-with-a-gun myth. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to create a better future where they can live in peace and safety and not worry whether each day going to school means not coming back home alive.
We as citizens must work together for sanity and sobriety when it comes to guns. We at Watsonville First United Methodist Church offered to put up $10,000 for the “Gun Buyback for Grocery” program to the Watsonville Police Department. We are still waiting for the answer. We as a nation need universal background checks, national registration of all gun purchases, red flag law, a five-day waiting period, an extensive gun-safety course, raise the age to 21 to purchase guns, and ban large capacity ammunition magazines and military style assault rifles as did in Australia, New Zealand, and most civilized countries in the world. God bless America!
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called the sons and daughters of God.”
~ Matthew 5:9