we watch in amazement, fear, anger, consternation, disgust, and dread as groups in our region parade around, openly carrying firearms ranging from hunting rifles to assault weapons. we see pictures of them in restaurants and stores. we watch videos of them, guns in hand, pursuing those who film their "open carry" demonstrations. in our community a local group made much of the city council's refusal to permit these "patriots" to stage a parade through the city, a parade intended to demonstrate the group's interpretation of a state law that they believed allowed them to openly carry firearms wherever and whenever they wanted.
as this is going on, we regularly read of senseless killings across the country. these have become so commonplace that we may view them as part of the routine of life in the united states. when reasonable measures are proposed that might curb gun violence, various "gun rights" groups protest loudly and at length about attempts to limit their "second ammendment" freedoms. recently there was a report of a controversy in a nearby southern state regarding that state's new gun law, with some holding that the law gave citizens of the state the right to openly carry firearms into polling places. when will this madness stop?
imagine going into a fast food restaurant or (even more frigtening) into a bar where one is surrounded by gun-toting diners or drinkers! imagine shopping with your children for the week's supply of groceries as bearded armed men parade through the store wearing t-shirts with threatening slogans on them! perhaps we need to watch an old western movie each day so that we can see the heroic sheriff confiscating the guns of cowboys in from the trail ride, as mandated by city ordinance. if folks in the american west had the sense to realize that guns ought to be checked at the city limits, why can't 21st-century americans see how senseless the proliferation of these weapons is?
may we wake up to the need to refrain from causing needless fear in the hearts of our neighbors. may we see that there is a connection between the ease of acquiring and carrying lethal weapons and the increase in killings by crazed gun-carrying individuals and groups. may we realize that it is us, not the government or its laws, that is the root cause of these horrific shooting sprees. may we promote peace, not killing. shalom.