I am tired of hearing about the newest example of human depravity. Yesterday a disgruntle former employee murdered a reporter and cameraman as they were interviewing a guest live on the air. This gunman then later took his own life. This news has been all over any form of media and the responses have been generally responsible in the sensitive particulars of this story. The shock, outrage, and grief is evident.
I do believe it is important to allow for the proper time for the grief process to occur.
But I also think we must talk about what else we need to do beyond moving through the stages of grief. We need to move beyond our outrage and into action.
I am not in favor of OVER-reacting...but sensible steps can be taken. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Can we please develop some sensible laws about who can get access to guns and other weapons? I am not in favor of removing all guns from the public but there are steps we can take to keep such weapons (and for the record I reject the notion that a gun is for defense- a gun is a weapon, not a shield), but I am in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of people who through negligence, ignorance, and irresponsibility pose a risk to others in the community. Police and other armed officials train for hours and hours, and keep training, to understand the responsible care and use of such weapons. Right now no such training or education is required for your average gun owner. Traveling gun shows have little accountability on how and to whom they sell their weapons. The rhetoric of the NRA lobbyists and the left winged opposition can be put aside to resume a discussion on methods to make gun ownership safe for would be owners and the community where they live!
2. More important to me is the process of educating ourselves and our children on the danger of concepts such as anger and revenge. We have parents teaching children that sometimes the only way to gain respect is through the use or willingness to use violence. We praise aggressive behavior, model activity based upon anger, and lift up revenge as a romantic notion of righting wrongs. How about talking to our children about the cost of violence, the damage hate does to a person's spirit, or the danger of acting in anger.
Better yet, why not teach (and model) to our children concepts such as healing, caring for one another, forgiveness, and reconciliation? Why not encourage our families to develop empathy for others who might be different or seem foreign to us? Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as our self. When Paul describes love (agape) he uses words that are active, not feelings or emotions.
If all we do after this tragedy is talk about it for a couple of days, we leave it as a tragedy.