How many shootings are we up to now? I lost track a long time ago. Too many is not a number you can count on your fingers.
Everyone has an opinion as to why they happen. Too many guns, mental health problems, violent video games, and so on. The noise and arguing will run hot for a week or two and then we will go on.
Yet the answer is right in front of us. The answer is right there in the arguments themselves. Our world is alone and afraid, constantly running on adrenaline, scared of confronting even the obvious – especially the obvious.
Another day, another person dead from a police bullet. Another night of unrest as anger spills out into the streets. Another heated round of angry statements from all sides shouting past each other. Another opportunity missed to speak words of healing, love, and respect.
We say “Black Lives Matter” because it is not at all obvious that our nation believes this. It seems obvious enough that “All Lives Matter”, but when you focus on those of us who are darker life seems much more disposable, much easier to kick to the curb and forget.
When we say Black Lives Matter we say it not as a direct challenge in opposition to the officers in uniform or to white people. We say it as a challenge to the systems that produce far too much death far too easily, and as with everything bad in our nation that death falls heavily, horrifically on black people. That is why we have to keep saying it until it is true – Black Lives Matter.
In the wake of the Orlando shooting, the inevitable cry for new gun laws has arisen. Can’t we keep guns out of the hands of crazies? Why does anyone need an AR-15? How do people like this keep getting guns?
In order to break the logjam, I want to add my support to a modest step that may be very effective. It’s been proven in 15 states to reduce gun deaths and is certainly constitutional. More importantly, it helps us to move past the infatuation with guns and focus on people.
I believe that a national law requiring a permit to own a gun, which displays both credibility and competency, is both passable and implementable. Call it a “Common Sense Gun Law” if you like.
The conversation among commuting comrades on the 94 bus turned to the San Bernadino shooting. More accurately, it turned toward it and then veered away:
“Can you believe this one?”
“It was like an place where they help developmentally disabled or something.”
“Yeah. That was messed up.”
Details established, the words trailed off. Anything more was beyond us this Friday morning. The same conversation, more or less, repeated at work:
“They were a husband and wife.”
“Yeah, they had a six month old baby.”
From there it went nowhere. Where could it go? What was there left to say?
As we digest the news from the Newtown, Connecticut shooting there is not a parent who is not ravaged deep in their soul at the horror of this event. The reaction so far tells us that this one is different – that this rampage will be the one that finally changes things. I have thought of many things that I want to say to add to the discussion, but all of them feel inadequate.
Let me try to find just a little to add.