I am deeply saddened to write to you in the wake of another major national tragedy: the mass shooting at a Las Vegas outdoor concert that has already claimed nearly sixty lives, with five hundred more people injured.
Though we will not forget the lives at risk from ongoing flooding, infrastructure damage, and insufficient government assistance across the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas, our hearts are broken whenever any individual unleashes such terrible violence. And, “whenever” is far too frequent in our country. Painful as it is, we keep all the victims of this violence in our hearts and pray for solace for the Las Vegas community.
In response, Skyline will host a vigil in remembrance of all those killed and injured in Las Vegas here in our sanctuary on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7pm. We will sing, pray, light candles, and walk the labyrinth.
We must take care of our emotional and spiritual health after a tragedy like this, but we cannot be complacent and believe we are powerless to end gun violence. United Church of Christ Andover-Newton graduate, Casey Guet, wrote this in righteous anger about our national ambivalence toward gun violence:
Why do guns grow from the ground, oh Lord?
Why did you make something, which kills so quickly?
Why do you allow these killing machines to be plucked
From our gardens?
And sold in our gun markets?
We will not take any responsibility.
We never do.
In the beginning, God created the gun and the bullet.
There is nothing we can do, nothing to stop these tragedies.
Perhaps, if we created guns with our own hands,
Perhaps, if we could use our system of laws,
But there is nothing we can do.
The guns will keep cropping up.
The guns will keep growing.
I wonder, is there a way to destroy these flowers of death?
But cash crops are so hard to burn.
It’s true, “cash crops” like the gun industry are hard to burn — yet, we must not succumb to despair, we must keep trying. Here are a few resources:
- Preventing Mass Shootings Like the Vegas Strip Attack
- Stop Handgun Violence
- the Brady Campaign,
- the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence,
- the film, Making a Killing
- UCC on Gun Violence
As members of the UCC, we are committed to the ethical principles affirming that every person has inherent worth and dignity and that we must work together for a world community of peace, liberty, and justice for all. We will pray for all those impacted by gun violence, and we will work to be peacemakers locally and nationally.
Blessings, Pastor Laurie