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Reaction or Rhetoric – A Preacher’s Position on Mass Shootings

IMG_7154San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Roseburg, Chattanooga, Charleston, Isla Vista, Ft. Hood, Washington D.C., Santa Monica, Sandy Hook, just hearing these names breaks my heart every time. These names stir deeply my emotional pool, and it is time to issue a call. The latest mass shooting in San Bernardino has me, along with the rest of the country and the world, saddened, but the national discussion that has followed this shooting has me angry, very, very angry.

Politicians, news media, social media, conversations with folks at the local coffee shop has me sick to my stomach. I now realize that most involved in the national discussion do not even really care about victims in these mass shootings, and very few, actually care about preventing mass shootings in the future. Politicians and pundits and media and average joes just use mass shootings to further their own agendas rather that addressing this problem that is costing lives and ripping families and communities a part.

The pro-gun control people argue that we need more gun control laws. People should not have weapons that can kill that many people that quickly. The NRA and like groups argue that guns are not the problem, and champion how mass shooters are defeated by cops with GUNS. The anti-Muslim people have pounced on the fact that the shooters in San Bernardino were Muslim. They are arguing for closing Mosques and not allowing Muslims into the country. Proponents of having mental health care more available use mass shootings to say we have many in this country that need mental health care.

But all of these groups are clearly more interested in their agenda that preventing mass shootings. I have not heard a pro-gun control advocate explain how new laws will prevent criminals from breaking the law and commit mass shootings with illegal weapons. I have not heard a anti-gun control person explain the virtue of having fully automatic assault riffles that can pierce kevlar available to anyone with cash except taking those away is the first step in the people losing ALL guns. I have not heard the anti-Muslim people explain those mass shootings committed by non-Muslims and ,gulp, Christians. I have not heard the proponents of expanded mental health care using that to find and impact potential mass shooters in the future.

This is what we see on our TVs time and time again. A mass shooting has occurred and people flock to push their agendas without really saying much about mass shootings. “We need to get rid of guns!” “We need more guns!” “We need to give Muslims the boot!” I am sick of it.

What we need is for smart people to get in a room, forget agendas, and examine and study mass shootings to discover a path to stop them. We need more than just talk. We need action, and we need to be open to ALL ideas. Gun control folks need to be open to the possibility that taking guns away from law abiding citizens might not be the answer. Anti-gun control folks need to be open to more registration, the closing of gun purchasing loopholes, and the removal of guns might be an answer.

This is a complex situation. I realize that. I spent some time reading about past mass shootings. Mass shooters have been different ages, different religions, different ideals, using a wide variety of weaponry. I do not know how to prevent them, but I am willing to talk about it. I do have some ideas, and if we put them with your ideas, and other’s ideas, we might just develop a solution that will save lives.

If mass shootings cannot get different people with different beliefs and different agendas unified with an open mind with a single focus, than our country just might be lost. If stopping mass shootings cannot get a republican and a democrat, a NRA member and an anti-gun individual, a Muslim and a Christian, a Rex Sox and a Yankee, to sit in a room, unified toward one goal, may God have mercy on us all.

It is time to stop pushing agendas. It is time to stop using tragedy as political capital. It is time to look our political, philosophical, religious, and idealogical opposites in the eye and say, “We both have a tragic problem facing us. Let’s lock ourselves in a room until we have a plan of action because we both know, like everyone knows, this problem needs action!”

Before you say, “San Bernardino is different it was a terrorist attack,” tell me which mass shooitngs were not acts or terror? People killing innocent people without warning.  They have all been acts of terror.

We as Americans cannot accept mass shootings occasionally happen.

Something must be done. Gun control, guns for all, mandatory psychiatric exams for young people and/gun owners, training, new laws…I do not know the answer, but something must be done. If something is done and it fails, at least we tried, learned something, and are more prepared for attempt number two.

If all we get out of this latest mass shooting is more political rhetoric, than we have doomed our country to add another city to the growing list of heart breaking town names.

Do something. If it fails, do something else. It is time to stop the yelling, start talking, and start the doing. We need all Americans to be open to all ideas because mass shootings cannot continue without a reaction to prevent them in the future. Washington D.C., State Governments, local governments, churches, organizations, let’s unite and do something.

Preacher Jesse

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