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By Norris Burkes, June 12, 2022
There’s a lot of blame being passed around this month over the Uvalde, Texas shooting.
Some people accuse the Oasis Outback, the store where the shooter legally bought two semiautomatic rifles and more than 1,600 bullets. (No age requirement for the latter, just sobriety.)
Lawsuits are being initiated against the gun manufacturer, Daniel Defense, following the template of the Sandy Hook case that bankrupted Remington.
Many are asking why the critical outside door was unlocked.
But much of the blame is focused on the incident commander for delaying entry to the classrooms.
Gratefully, none of the attention is being directed toward you and me. That’s because we had nothing to do with it, right? We are among the innocent.
Or are we?
“What are you saying, Chaplain? I was nowhere in the vicinity.”
I’m asking you to consider the prayer of the Psalmist who said,
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting (Ps.139:23-24 New International Version).
With that teaching in mind, I have to ask myself some heart questions.
When I purchase a movie ticket for a violent blockbuster, do I affirm the use of guns for conflict resolution?
Are we feeding a thirst for violence with our obsession for true-crime shows, violent books and music? Do I own t-shirts or car stickers glorifying guns?
Am I part of the problem if I vote for the candidate who’s posing with her guns?
Has our loud insistence of personal rights become a denouncement of life?
And perhaps even the most responsible gun owners must ask eventually themselves, “Have I helped to create an arms race in personal protection that has encouraged the gun violence in this country?”
Hey, I’m not pointing fingers. I’m just asking big boy questions — spiritual questions.
Each of us has to examine our own hearts. Or as AA says, “We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worthwhile can be accomplished until we do so” (Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 77-78).
But the worst of my sins may be the violence contained in my silence.
The violence of silence is referenced in James 2:16. “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (New International Version).
In today’s terms, this is the person who sends only their thoughts and prayers and remains silent to injustice.
So this week, I confessed my sin of being silent to violence, and I wrote my congressman calling for his attention to three things.
- Outlaw the assault style of guns used in most of these shootings. Use a government buyback program to recover guns already purchased.
- Raise the age limit required for the purchase all guns to 21.
- Implement Red Flag laws to allow police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who shows a danger to others or themselves.
I know many of you have better ideas than mine, so don’t waste your time criticizing me.
Use your time writing your lawmaker with workable suggestions to end this. Use your voice. Refuse to be part of the violence of silence.
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