I heard the news early yesterday morning and was struck silent all day in terms of speaking to the tragedy. At this writing I still do not know of motive or what brought this young man to his actions in the theater in Aurora Colorado. All I know is the wake of grief, horror, shock, and sorrow that has been left behind once again following a senseless killing.
I have been impressed with the leaders of our country who have set aside politics in order to acknowledge our common humanity and suffering after such an event. It gives me hope that we have not lost all sense of dignity and respect among some of our leaders and politicians. The usual comments about gun limitations and the right to bear arms are starting to make their way into the headlines, blogs, and social media sites which gives me pause as to what I might add.
I grew up with a gun, hunting with my father and his brothers and my own brother. I grew up enjoying the sport and the challenge with my friends and others who enjoyed hunting. I have a healthy respect for the ability to own a gun and would certainly never advocate the removal of guns from our citizens.
That being said, as these tragedies continue it seems clear to me that we need to do something. Guns designed for hunting and even protection with the right training, licensing, and background checks are something to enjoy and a right for us all. However, as unpopular as I know this is going to be with many of my friends, family, and others, even in our church, our country has to limit access especially to assault weapons, gun shows, and other venues where it is too easy to acquire a firearm.
The popular cliché “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” while true, it is only in part. a more accurate statement, in my opinion, is “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.” When will we as a culture and society recognize we have a problem? We live in a country, society, and culture is too quick to move to violence, incivility, threats, and our guns.
Stock piling personal stashes of weapons and ammunition under the guise of some perceived threat of the government taking them all away, ordering six thousand rounds of ammunition is NOT a hunting trip, purchasing an AK47 and calling it a hunting rifle, and a post just yesterday I saw on a site with a picture of an Obama 2012 bumper sticker with a caption, “Remember when the shooting starts he is just a symptom THEY are the problem,” these things are not about gun rights or the constitution, these things are a sickness and a cancer on our society and our country.
It is time to admit our morbid addiction to violence as a nation and put measures and laws into place that limit access to guns that are specifically designed for mass killing. It’s time for us as a people to do the right thing to protect the innocent, our children, and our children’s children.
Today I still grieve for the families of Aurora, Arizona, Columbine, Newtown, the Martin family, and all those affected by these horrendous acts of senseless violence and pray for comfort, healing, presence, and grace in the difficult days, months, and years ahead. And I take my stand as one who believes limits and restrictions are the only way to make our country safe again. May it be so, soon.