You woke up this morning to yet another news story of a mass shooting. Maybe you just glossed over the story since it seems like it’s a totally common news story for someone to just open fire in public and gun down a bunch of people.
Even my own child, 12 years old and only having lived here in the US for 4 years, has realized these shootings seem to happen all the time. “Daddy, someone shot a bunch of people again?” she’s asked me too frequently as I’ve tried to quickly change the channel.
This time it wasn’t a school or a movie theatre, but a church. A young white male gunman entered a historic black church in South Carolina, sat down at their Bible study for a while, and then proceeded to kill nine people.
Just another day in America. “Home of the free” and “land of the brave” so they call you, but I’m looking at stories of nine people from last night who aren’t free anymore. They’re dead.
Today is the morning after one of these mass shootings, which means we’ll now enter our obligatory few weeks of saying how terrible this tragedy was before we go onto to change absolutely nothing.
To be honest, I’m starting to wonder if we as a nation are impressively stupid, because we react to these mass shootings like we would an earthquake or a tsunami– as if the fact people are getting gunned down every day in America is some unpreventable act of nature. A headline from the Onion said it most poignantly: ‘No Way To Prevent This’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.
Mass shootings aren’t an unpreventable act of nature, they’re a product of a gun-slinging culture of death.
So, the question on my mind this morning America is: how many mass shootings will it take for you?
How many– please, list a number– will it take before you’re willing to at least have a civil discussion on guns in America?
How many will it take before you wake up and realize that we’re basically the only country this is happening to?
How many before you stop to wonder if well regulated militia is actually equal to well armed Walmart shoppers? Do we really think the founding fathers- writing about keeping a musket in one’s house- actually envisioned a day where we were all armed to the teeth and blowing each other away?
How many before you realize that people in other nations have life, liberty, and are free to pursue happiness– but do it without so many damn guns? Or, that they survive just fine with tight gun regulations designed to honor freedom and safety at the same time?
How many will it take before you reject the nonsensical talking points presented by the gundamentalists who insist that the only solution to our problem is for more people to go out and get more guns? It’s as if we learned nothing from the Cold War and are right back into a mindset of safety through always having superior firepower.
Why is it, America, that you seem so unwilling to have a national discussion on this issue, even though your own children are being slaughtered? Doesn’t that strike you as a bit odd?
How many will it take? Is this seriously the kind of country you want to live in?
It’s time to start asking these questions, America.
It’s time to have courage and force the discussion, even if they label you a communist, liberal, an enemy of the constitution, or whatever else they want to call you.
Because America is stumbling drunk on guns, and desperately needs help.
Yet, beyond these questions for America, I have a question for the Church in America: When will you stand up and take the lead on this discussion?