As I write this another mass shooting and another and another …..in California
Half Moon Bay, 7 dead; Monterey Park, 11 dead January 21 and 24; then as I complete the final writing of this 3 dead and 5 injured at Michigan State University on February 14. And on February 14 Valentine’s Day 2018 5 years ago 17 shot dead in Parkland, Florida mass shooting. We as a nation have unfortunately promoted a gun culture.
I was living in Florida also when the Orlando Pulse night club mass shooting killed 49 on June 12, 2016. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 a number of high school youth survivors began March For Our Lives (not March for Lives as in Roe vs Wade) movement. I joined a March for our Lives protest march on June 2018 in Sarasota, Florida. Last year in June, 2022, I participated with another March For Our Lives Bloomington protest organized by 2 Bloomington North High School students. The mantra “protect kids not guns” echoed the desires of our group.
A Sojourners article from January, 2023 written by editorial associate Liz Bierly, “The Divine Right of Guns” traces the development of our gun culture roots in our American psyche today. A significant change was in 1977 when the NRA began promoting 2nd amendment rights instead of only being a sportsmen’s association. Since then a strong gun lobby has reinforced legislators to protect gun manufacturers. She writes that a “Christian reconstructionism” has permeated our society as she urges “Christians take an interest in this gun violence issue because the gun lobby has already taken an interest in Christians”.
Bierly finds that in the US gun homicide is 25 times higher than in any other (high income) nation. She views the rise in white fears related to “Christian reconstruction”. She explains that since racial integration of public schools an increase has occurred in home schooling and Christian schools. How do we change this dangerous trend? What can we do? I have chosen to support March For Our Lives and to write legislators to let them know most people urge them to take action on gun control. I especially urge my senators Todd Young and Mike Braun to ban assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and to promote a bill that advocates universal background checks. Senator Young can be contacted at young.senate.gov and phone 202-224-5623 at 185 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 and Senator Braun at braun.senate.gov and phone 202-224-4814 at 404 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510.
Keith Gerber, Outreach co-chair