No community is immure from gun violence

Published 11:32 am Friday, March 31, 2023

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Another 200 children – this time in Nashville – became survivors of gun violence when on Monday a 28-year-old armed with high-powered weapons broke into their church school and opened fire, killing three nine-year-old classmates and three adult staff members.
These students at Nashville’s Covenant School along with employees join the growing number of Americans who have been touched by gun violence. A bus pulling away from a church with students who fled the shooting showed a young girl in tears. Others had stunned, scared looks on their faces. They are among the growing number of Americans who have been touched by gun violence, who have had to shelter in place or run for their lives or confront the possibility that their lives may be ended by a bullet.
These children and their families also join the ranks of mourners for family, friends and classmates who could not be protected or escape. Monday will be a day they will forever remember. The classmates and school staff killed in Monday’s shooting will be people forever remembered by these children. In some ways, their lives are scarred forever.
Regardless of how successful they are in life or how long they live, these children will remember that ill-fated day in March 2023 when a shooter entered their school and opened fire on their friends. By the grace of God, they were survivors.
Monday’s shooting happened at a church school. There have been church shootings – one occurred in South Carolina a few years ago; shootings at grocery stores, movie theaters, shopping malls, and even in America’s streets and neighborhoods from east to west and north to south. Even some of the most powerful people in the nation – members of Congress – are not immure. There is no safe place in America.
Parents must say goodbye to their children each morning with the lingering fear it will be the last time they see them. Hug them tight, hold them close.
We’re a nation that purports to care about human life, yet we tolerate frequent mass casualties from guns. While conservative legislators in Tennessee and other states spend their time trying to ban books or drag queens, curtail genre-affirming care for transgender youth or whitewash public school curriculum in the name of protecting children, they refuse to take meaningful steps to reduce the leading cause of school deaths in America – gun violence.
Yes, we must do more to help Americans suffering from mental and emotional illnesses, and we must do more to keep guns out of their hands.
But, for the time being we must do more to protect America’s school children and those who teach and work in our schools. Not too long ago a young boy in Virginia took a gun to school and shot his teacher. She, too, is a survivor but has been emotionally scarred and may never be able to return to the classroom. School children, too, are capable of being killers. Parents must do more to keep guns out of their hands.
All of us live with the crushing fear that we might be the next victim or survivor of gun violence. No community, school, church or shopping mall is immune. Shootings can happen anywhere because guns, mentally deranged people, and evil can be found in every community across America.
Our only hope is that God looks down and has mercy on us. And, he does every day.

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