The first thing that should be said is that we cannot mourn as do those who have no hope. When the enemy seems most insurmountable, our resolve must be most unbreakable.
Yes, it is easier said than done. Tragic consequences for victims and families of those who suffer the brunt of America’s obsession with violence are a constant source of frustration for every decent citizen.
Yet the premise of our analysis, dialogue, strategizing and plan of action must be pulled from a place of strength and faith and determination. The bleak reality is that spiraling day-to-day street violence in our cities and domestic violence everywhere has reached epidemic proportions.
Mass shootings have become so commonplace that the shock effect has been reduced to numbing frustration and redundant sympathy.
Those quick to preach repentance, faith and prayer should not be mocked or greeted with cynicism. They are right. But those elements reflect a starting point… not an end. The Bible even shuns faith without work.
Anyone espousing a single, simple solution to the multifaceted dilemma that we face today is a liar and the truth is not in him. But there is one absolute. We won’t give up or give in, no how arduous the “work.”
Sadly, only 19 weeks into 2022, America has already experienced 198 mass shootings. The Buffalo, New York massacre follows a string of similar attacks. Gunmen have targeted worshippers at malls, theaters, health spas, festivals, demonstrations, concerts, subways, nightclubs, the workplace, every level of school campuses, grocery stores, restaurants and virtually all places Americans regularly frequent.
More frequently than every day, an astonishing 10 times every week of this year, gunmen have targeted innocent citizens not only in the privacy of their homes or the false security of open public settings, but in the most sacred grounds on which Americans stand. Hateful assailants victimize worshippers in synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches of virtually every faith and denomination.
Since clearly nothing is sacred on the part of the perpetrators, no counter action should be left off the table. The most obvious is gun control. Congress should follow the dictates of 80 percent of voters who support background checks for gun owners. Two out of three Americans feel assault weapons that exist solely to annihilate large numbers of human beings should be banned.
After the slaughter of school children at Sandy Hook and slaying of dozens after a Las Vegas concert, cynics scoff at the notion of the most recent tragedy precipitating any meaningful change. No one can be certain what the future holds. But if we stop trying, we guarantee more of them. It seems we will continue to go through our daily lives in constant fear for ourselves and our loved ones.
Hold elected officials accountable or organize recall elections or support more reasonable opponents. Push for the setting of term limits for every elected official from mayors, to state office, to Congress, to the U.S. Supreme Court and other judgeships.
One reason change comes so slowly, or not at all, is because those in power wallow in the comfort of knowing there are no consequences for their inaction and apathy.
Hit lawmakers on the purse strings where it hurts most. Identify corporate financiers of candidates hiding behind the Second Amendment which has nothing to do with background checks for gun purchases or lethal high-powered automatic weapons. Boycott goods and services of those companies because their dollars lend support to lethargic, uncaring, incompetent legislators.
Elections have consequences. Register yourself and others to vote. Be informed on where candidates stand and let nothing keep you from the voting booth this and every election year. We need to do whatever it takes to get younger voters more knowledgeable and active. Push for public schools to hand to every graduating senior a diploma in one hand and a voter registration card in the other.
Nobody is saying it will be easy. Enslavement did not end until it did. Women did not have the right to vote until it happened. Desegregation in the schools existed until it didn’t. Skeptics doubted civil rights laws would ever be enacted, but it happened.
The list goes on for progressive movements that eventually resulted in unimaginable change. We believe in a God of miracles. Do the work to accompany your faith.
When it’s hardest to pray, pray the hardest. God did not bring us this far to leave us!
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected]