Do you remember the other two freedoms? If you do, you go to the head of the class! Few people can recite our five freedoms.
Our reason to exercise our five freedoms today: We wanted to make our voice heard to say: It is time to change legislation to increase the responsible ownership of guns in America and to prevent gun violence.
The top picture shows a group of about 100 folks who had come for the March from Newtown, Connecticut. Newton experienced a tragedy of gun violence on December 14, 2012, which sent our nation reeling.
The second picture shows my husband and me with Ron from our church. There was a nice-sized group of folks from Western Presbyterian there. See the Capitol building in the background?
As you can see (if you squint), we carried signs that said: “Another ____ Against Assault Weapons.”
Doug is “Another Teacher Against Assault Weapons.”
I am “Another Clergy Against Assault Weapons.”
I have spent my career as a minister. One of my main focuses has been to help strengthen families through the support of the faith community. My husband spends his days in an elementary school as a Technology Resource Teacher. He is that one male presence in a building with 430 students plus faculty. He does the unsung work of teaching kids, greeting them by name, and keeping them safe as they got on and off the bus.
(If you think it is a good idea to arm school personnel, please talk to a teacher or principal.)
I believe Doug and I are “typical Americans” and our voices matter. We don’t have the financial resources of the gun lobbyists, but we do have voices.
Enough is enough. Enough children have been needlessly killed.
Smart people are adaptable. They make changes when change is required. This situation requires change in our laws. Ask yourself:
Do civilians need to carry arms that have military purposes?
Do civilians need to use magazines with a high volume of ammunition?
Do civilians need access to ammunition which is designed to pierce body armor and rip apart flesh and bone, rather than to stop the person from fleeing?
Do civilians need access to weaponry without background checks?
I quickly googled and found this account of the day, and I’ll lift a few sentences:
This is not about hunters having their rifles restricted. It is about a ban on assault weapons and stricter background checks. No one needs a magazine that fires 60 bullets in a few minutes.
Among the signs displayed, one re-construed the letters NRA to imply “Not Representing Americans.” Another protested that 3 percent of the country, members of NRA, were controlling the lives and destinies of the overwhelming majority. By far the most common sign carried by protestors, distributed by the organizers, was a simple, small poster with a person’s name on it, each one a victim of a senseless death by a gun, accidental or purposeful.
I carried a placard with the name of a dead child. At the end of the day, I could put the placard down. I can forget that name. It is not my child.
Or is it? Are they not all our children? Is this not what Jesus tells us? Is this not what great poets such as John Donne tell us? Is this not the very fiber of our shared humanity, the Image of God within us? We are responsible for each other. If we must inconvenience ourselves by changing our laws, then so be it. I am happy to be inconvenienced to keep your child safe.
I made my voice heard today. I hope you’ll seek out ways to make your voice heard in the weeks and months ahead.
EDITED TO ADD: A few months later we had a special service focusing on the issue of ending gun violence, read about it here.
Peace to you.