Once again, we huddle around our television sets as if they are chapels as we search for answers swirling around another crime of mass murder. But this time, the murders were in a chapel. It was Sunday in a Texas church when a deranged gunman armed to the teeth came running. This time the victims were people in prayer, in worship on a Sunday morning.
Once again, the staccato sound of assault rifle fire was heard and the bullets pierced the bodies of people gathered in the church pews of a place of peace. Twenty-six dead at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas. It has been a bloody 35 days. Another gunman in Las Vegas killed 58. And before that, there was another gunman who killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub. A few years back, 32 killed at Virginia Tech University. 27 killed – mostly elementary school children – in Sandy Hook. Nine killed in another church shooting in Charleston.
This latest mass murder in America hits so emotionally hard, we ask each other and ourselves what shall we do. Guns are so much a part of our American culture. But the culture has to change. We have to find the balance between Second Amendment rights and guns everywhere. We talk, but not deep enough to get to the core.
Mass murder. Not just that, but the daily murders in this country on city, suburban, and rural streets.
We pray for answers as to where is the safe place? The answer comes quickly. The danger zone is everywhere. Shootings and bombings in malls, concerts, marathon races, movie theaters, colleges, elementary and high schools, churches.
We talk of a necessary “national dialogue” on guns and violence, but the talk too often dwindles to hot air which trails away even more until the next horrible crime. We must find real solutions brought on by real talk. When will we truly begin that national dialogue on guns – certainly on assault weapons -- and violence in general? I don’t accept these times as a “new normal.” There is nothing normal about Sunday’s shooting inside the church or any of the others. Leadership – whether it comes from the top or grows up from the bottom which is the foundation of this country – must deal with this issue. When does the leadership at the top or the bottom or in between shout from windows and rooftops and public marches , “we have had enough”? Or do we watch the unfolding horror and wait for another gunman to come running …. maybe where you have gathered. I’m Leon Bibb.