This weekend is Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath. It is a time to raise awareness of the rising tide of gun violence in our country (and around the world), and how it intersects our lives. You can read more about it here…
A few months ago I wrote a poem/prayer after I had been the chaplain to a number of families who lost sons, daughters, parents or friends to gun violence. It was the refrain of one woman, “Make it STOP!” that became the impetus for writing that piece.
I can’t impress on you enough the heartache that these folks feel. I have felt their tears soaking into my shirt. I have held them as tears and sobs of grief overwhelm them. I have prayed earnestly for God’s help to bring words of comfort (when I had none) and words of healing (when I knew it would be a long, difficult process.)
From my perspective as a chaplain, When there is Gun Violence, there are many who are injured. They aren’t always hit with a bullet…
- There’s the parent who is worried about what neighborhood they should live in because they hear gunshots at night.
- There’s the EMT who waits with dread for the calls to come in… knowing it’s a weekend and the fights and altercations will increase… and will CPR be enough this time?
- There’s the trauma team who wearily puts on gowns, gloves and masks, and waits for the gurney to arrive. Again. And again.
- There’s the nurse who works doggedly throughout her shift, hoping that the medications and treatments and machines will be enough, and feeling like it’s an uphill battle, every night.
- There’s the police officer who has to give the news to the family that they can’t view the deceased’s body. They will have to wait for the funeral home, because the body is considered part of the crime scene.
- There’s a child raised without a parent or a grandparent, or even a classmate. And they are afraid it could happen to someone else they know.
Maybe you need a picture. Words or emotions don’t touch you. Check out the graphic at Slate which shows the impact of over 12,000 deaths between the shootings at Sandy Hook, CT and December 31, 2013. 12,042 deaths, to be exact. In a little over one year.
Create a memorial. Something like Silent March.
You could even make a thousand paper cranes as a peace project, like Sadako.
Maybe this isn’t something you care about. Maybe the scope of this problem doesn’t seem to affect your world. I invite you to read. Pray. Read. Think. Consider. And then act. Your life is precious. And so is mine. Let’s find a way for all of us to live a little longer…