The headline in The Columbus Dispatch this morning says simply, “Another Massacre.” The mass shooting at a social services center in San Bernardino, California, yesterday is yet another in a long line of such events, and it’s next to impossible to believe it will be the last.
We have seen the routine before. First we’ll have the horror and disbelief. The news channels will fill their 24-hour cycles with reports and “breaking news,” accuracy and responsible journalism be damned. Commentators will commentate. Speculators will speculate. Politicians will offer their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families. The President will betray his frustration by lashing out at Congress and the NRA. Liberals will wring their hands. Conservatives will say we need more guns to kill the killers before they kill. Some will take the fact that one of the alleged shooters was named Syed Farook and stoke fears of jihadists in our midst, and redouble their efforts to make the US as unwelcome to refugees and immigrants as they can (ignoring that Farook was an American citizen). Someone will come up with a severely limited and probably ineffectual proposal for stricter background checks or restrictions on certain types of weapons. Polls will reflect that a significant majority of US citizens support these proposals. The NRA’s propaganda machine will roar to life, using their political clout and fear-mongering prowess to oppose these measures as a lethal threat to our liberty.
Nothing will change.
In another month or week we will go through the whole pathetic charade again after the next massacre.
As people of faith, we must confront the issues surrounding events such as what happened yesterday in San Bernardino. More to the point, we need to do so as communities of faith. We do not have to agree on everything; some intelligent and reasonable Christians I know support expanded concealed carry laws, while others wouldn’t mind seeing every firearm banned permanently. What we do have to agree on, I think, is that Jesus and the God he called Abba are unequivocally on the side of life rather than death, and so must we be. How we get to a society (or at least approximate one) characterized by peace and justice, not violence, is open to debate; having that as a goal is not.
I said above that it’s almost impossible to imagine an end to gun violence in our country, but remember, with God all things are possible. All we need is faith, commitment, and creativity.