I was going to write about turning off our cell phones at church or about jellyfish in the ocean, but maybe another time.
Instead: yet another shooting has left a number of innocent people dead. I lived in the Washington DC area for almost twenty years, worked on Capital Hill not far from the Navy Yard, went to the wharf to buy oysters and blue crab, and saw plays at a theater near the Navy Yard, drove not far from there on the way to another job. A good friend of mine rows on the Anacostia River. Twelve people plus the shooter are dead.
No place in the world – other than war zones – has the kind of gun violence we do. No nation with our level of prosperity has the kind of gun violence we do. No place has the number of deaths by guns that we do. What is it – thirty thousand or so each year?
Nothing will be done, of course. Our incompetent and fractured government will do nothing; the NRA will do what it always does; Obama will say a few things then let it drop until the next tragedy.
Vladimir Putin – no pacifist – made headlines by questioning American exceptionalism. We’ve heard that a lot – how exceptional we are. Usually the only ones who shout that they are great are those who realize they are not as great as they thought or hoped. Bullies do that, for example. Violence breeds that. We are exceptional in how many guns we have and how we use them for violence.
I realize this is just shouting into the wind or preaching to the choir, and I do not know what to do or what to suggest that someone does. Maybe getting rid of any little act of violence in any of our lives – whether how we drive or the movies we see, or how we treat people in lines at stores or people who serve us or the music we listen to. Maybe little acts might help.
Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson