A week later, our nation is still in mourning over the tragedy occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada. 58 individuals confirmed dead; over 500 individuals wounded, some critically. And for an untold number of families and friends of victims; and the citizens of Las Vega, their lives have been turned upside down forever. What makes this event even more frightening, is that authorities still cannot get a handle on a motive; why did a person, for no reason at all, slaughter innocent persons? In many ways, that question alone is terrifying.
Prayer services and remembrances are being held in Las Vegas, and across the country. Politicians are sending condolences and words of comfort to the victim’s loved ones. There are some politicians, however, who have refused to join in such ceremonies or gatherings. They do so because such events have become far too frequent in this nation because of far too many mass shootings. They want actions that will help prevent something like this from happening again. And then, there are those who wish to mute the uproar; who are passionate about their interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They feel that any discussion on the issue of gun control, will deny them of their rights, of their way of life.
So, here is where I go out on a limb. There is a part of me that is a pacifist, who is against the use of lethal force. An early Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, of which I am a member, forbade it members to carry weapons, (during the Middle Ages, that would get you in very hot water!). Yet, at that the same time, I am a pragmatist/realist. I know that American gun culture is here to stay. I am not against those who hunt; whether for need or for sport. I am not against those who feel the need to have a licensed weapon for protection. And I know that lethal force sometimes must be used to defend oneself, and others. What I am against, is the unregulated proliferation of weapons, especially military class automatic or semi-automatic weapons, which are designed to kill as many persons, as rapidly as possible. We have seen what havoc these weapons can wreck upon a community, when they are in the hands of an unstable individual. Yet, our politicians are, in many cases, afraid even to debate or just discuss measures to address this, for fear of the powerful gun lobby.
I pray that reason will take hold again in this country; I pray that our political leaders will be able to sit down with each, and discuss a way forward, that both respects the legitimate desires of gun owners, and will protect citizens from another tragedy like Las Vegas.
I feel the need to quote from Scripture; it might be out of context, but at this moment, it speaks to me:
Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Matt 26:50-52)
I hope soon we will all put our “swords” back into its sheath.
One thought on “What Happens Next?”
Thank you for addressing this issue. In our country we do have gun control laws put into place after our Port Arthur Massacre but we have here as well powerful voices that will not listen to reason like…..’no one needs a semi-automatic fast fire gun to manage their properties , protect their lonely homes or persons’. These ones who sell guns are quite viscious in their opposition even to gently applied laws. I honestly believe we came into this world with ‘nothing’ and we will surely leave with ‘nothing;. We have no ‘rights’ of passage but free will to ‘choose’ and act responsibly while we are here. I personally believe Jesus’ warning about the sword is as applicable today. (last week we had an incident of three armed intruders who broke into a store) The owners had no lethal weapons. (Man woman and children. escaped into a locked room. The father had a baseball bat.) Next door neighbour with a gun for protection opened fire and a robbery became a ‘massacre of the innocent; (the neighbour ++). Its a difficult issue and I thank you for your comment. It has been one stirring in my heart for many years. I personally feel once you are armed with something more lethal than a walking stick or a piece of timber the tendancy to use this force when frightened is magnified. . Blessings and Grace to you.