Gun Violence

“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” – Jeremiah 31:15 

The past few weeks, I have felt overwhelmed at the images and stories of mass shooting upon mass shooting. School in Tennessee. Sweet Sixteen party in Dadeville, Alabama.  House in Cleveland, Texas.  Mall in Allen, Texas. And now, last Saturday, a mass shooting in Yuma.

Children and teens killed in each one of them; and in many, adults killed while trying to protect and shield their children. Rachel weeps. 

In the United States, guns are the leading cause of death for children. You can read more facts about gun violence, and how it affects Arizona at the Everytown for Gun Safety website here

It is tempting to say we cannot stop this. But we could, if we had the will. It was not lost on me that after two recent mass shootings, the nation of Serbia took steps towards disarming.  It seems so logical—there is a threat to national safety; the people and government collectively take steps to make the people safer. 

I feel like I am a broken record on this—along with many other leaders. It does not have to be this way. We do not have to mourn children killed by guns every day. 

So how will we respond? How will we act to protect the children and adults who would die in the next shooting, and the next, and the next? 

Some actions are things individual gun owners can do: keeping guns stored safely and away from children and teens; reporting the loss or theft of a firearm. 

Other actions would take collective work and will: red flag laws; raising age limits to purchase guns; background checks; requiring licensing and training; waiting periods to purchase firearms. 

I would want us to do those things to keep my child—and your children and grandchildren—safe. Next week I am meeting with Governor Hobbs with other Christian leaders; and will bring this up as a priority for the safety of our state. And I encourage you to contact your elected officials to do the same. 

Because Jesus called the little children to himself. Jesus healed. Jesus brought life. And Jesus called people to turn from apathy and the ways of the world into the way, the truth, and the life of the Kingdom of God. 

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love:  So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen. – BCP, Prayer for Peace

Bishop Jennifer Reddall