As I read the headline yesterday, my heart began to pound and my throat closed up: “School Clerk In Georgia Persuaded Gunman To Lay Down Weapons.” This was a good story—ultimately a hopeful one—but all I could see was “school” and “gunman."
The verdict in the Trayvon Martin case shows that a trial can be fair as far as the law goes, while the nation falls far short of offering justice to all.
Three people died in the attack on the Boston Marathon. That same day, 11 Americans were murdered by guns.
We had a week of frightening headlines as each day greeted us with a new horror. Yet, the chorus soothes my troubled soul as I inhale and imagine God filling me with peace in the midst of all those dreadful dispatches.
After the Senate refused to take up several gun-control proposals Wednesday, I checked in with faith-based activists on the legislative process. (See my earlier Century article.) Many expressed frustration but also tentative hope for future prospects. "I'm deeply disappointed and very angry at the vise grip the NRA has on this issue," says Katherine Willis Pershey of the #ItIsEnough campaign. Many activists weren't thrilled with the legislation to begin with.
Alexander Hamilton’s 1804 death in a duel galvanized popular opposition. We need a similar campaign around gun violence.
History is littered with the husks of failed faith-based campaigns to change society. Will the current gun control push be different?
A number of activist organizations are declaring March 15-17 "National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend." It's not clear if this is meant to replace The Brady Center's "God Not Guns Sabbath," which has been observed on the last weekend of September for a number of years. But the organizers seem eager to keep the event broadly ecumenical and interfaith.
Here's some good news: despite our short collective attention span, despite the fiscal-cliff debacle dominating the headlines shortly after the Newtown shooting, the U.S. scourge of gun violence is still part of the national conversation. Now, every time I hear a public official mention Newtown and Aurora but not Chicago—which experienced a startling spike in gun homicides in 2012, mostly in poor, black neighborhoods—I'm ashamed at the implication that some killings deserve more shock and outrage than others. Still, whatever it takes to motivate people to take on the pro-gun lobby, I'm grateful to see it happening.