(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Gun violence has become an all-too-often frightening phenomenon in our country these days. The news today is filled with terrible stories of crime and violence.
During the months of May, June and July many gun related cases were reported in our news media. Today, our families are torn by violence; our communities are destroyed by violence; our faith is tested by violence. We see violence in our homes, in our schools and on our streets.
The nation is destroying the lives, dignity and hopes of hundreds of our sisters and brothers. Fear of violence is paralyzing and polarizing our communities. The celebration of violence in much of our media, music and even video games is poisoning our children. Beyond the violence in our streets is the violence in our hearts. Hostility, hatred, despair and indifference are at the heart of a growing culture of violence.
Verbal violence in our families, aggressive communications on the street and talk shows contribute to this culture of violence. However, we can turn away from violence; we can build communities of greater peace. It begins with a clear conviction – respect for life; compassion and kindness.
The questions are: “Do we manufacture guns in our country? Where do these guns come from? Do they pass through our borders? Those who possess the guns, have they registered them or own licenses to use them? Who are responsible for ensuring that these guns are not trafficked into our country? Do our leaders really care about the situation of gun violence in the country? Are our security agencies up to the task of fighting this issue?
Are we, the citizenry, co-operating with the police to flush out those people who possess the guns? Don’t we see and know the damage being done and yet shield those criminals who cause the violence in our society? Are they not in our homes? Are they not in our neighbourhoods? What do future visions of peace mean for a very violent present? Let us remember, our security agencies are not “super human” to see it all; they need us to help them to fight this crime.
Gun violence is not a “political football game”; it has no “political colour”. It is therefore important that we all come together to fight it. We should not use gun violence as political mileage to win power. If political parties have possible solutions, they need to join forces for the safety of our people. The common good is a central issue at stake in the reality of gun violence in our country.
The reality is that people often seek guns out of fear and self-protection, but acting in a way that presupposes individual security is set at odds with common security. While many claim that the prevalence of guns in society is the path to common security, studies have shown the opposite to be the case. When a gun is present in a household, the risk of gun violence—whether accidental or intentional—increases. Looking at some of the most common situations of gun violence, we see that an embrace of the common good is absent from our country. It seems to me that gun trafficking is a major source of gun violence in our society since guns are not manufactured in our country.
Over time, psychologists and sociologists have offered many rationalizations why society is plagued with crime. Blame has been placed on poverty, dysfunctional families, poor parenting and the like. Although these factors no doubt increase the likelihood of criminal activity, they are not the fundamental cause.
Though sometimes committed out of irrational frustrations, crime is a personal choice. None of the above factors ever forced a person into criminal activity. We all have freedom to weigh courses of action, to consider the consequences, to make and follow through on decisions. We are not forced to make decisions based on our social or family background.
What is the source of crime and violence? How did crime begin, and why is it perpetuated from generation to generation? Why, after centuries of trying, has humankind been unable to find a solution to the scourge of crime?
Modern experts have not given us the answers. For the solutions to crime and violence, we have to turn to God’s Word, the Holy Bible. It specifically reveals the true causes.
God, in His Word, makes it clear that all too often crime is the bitter fruit of our own greed and selfishness.
“Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start?” asks James. “Is it not precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you lack it; so you kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy, so you fight to get your way by force …”James 4:1-2
It is time we come to the realization that we are one people and, therefore, a gun is NOT the solution to resolving grievances. Love, compassion and kindness are all that we need to build our county.