Monday, October 5, 2015

Just Thoughts: Stop the Murders!

Just Thoughts: We Must Act to End This Violence

The world was stunned these past days by the cold-blooded murder of nine people (eight students and their 67-year-old teacher) at Umpquah Community College in Roseburg, Oregon and the wounding of about ten others. The killer brought six guns to the college, five handguns and a semiautomatic rifle, and had seven more guns back at his apartment. Reports say that these guns were purchased legally. This past month in the city of Cleveland, three little children, including a six-month-old baby, were killed in crossfire from gang shootings. And who can forget that three years ago in Chardon, three students were murdered and three wounded in their high school cafeteria. The sorrow is almost unbearable.

The world weeps for these students and these babies--and wonders how this could happen in the richest, most privileged country in the world. Some politicians have said what amounts to “stuff happens” or “there’s nothing we can do about it.” But that is clearly false because murders like this almost never happen in most of the world’s developed countries.

The environment in which such murders can happen is the result of poor social and political and legal structures. We can make laws and rules and procedures that both allow us our constitutional rights yet make this level of violence and murder far less likely.

Surely a problem like this calls out for action on many fronts: scholars and experts must come up with good sociological and psychological analyses; we need to better understand the biological factors behind violence. We must enact laws and procedures that make such violence much less possible. That last point is our responsibility: we are the voters; we have to elect leaders who will act and not continually roadblock progress on this front.

We have great models in the power of nonviolence. Mahatma Gandhi taught us the effectiveness of truth-force without the use of violence. Martin Luther King used nonviolent techniques in America in the fight for civil rights. And of course Jesus is the great teacher in the rejection of violence to achieve justice.

Failing to act can be nothing but a sin. We must start right away. A good beginning would be to teach our children to reject violence to achieve one’s goals. We are the hands and feet of the Lord. We need to pray to the Lord--and then get busy with our hands and feet and mind, creating a more peaceful world.

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