The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 5, 2013

Gun violence in America is a large scale, life-threatening crisis


And who are the perpetrators? Not law-abiding, responsible gun owners and not individuals who support the 2nd amendment. The real perpetrators, beyond the violent criminals who commit the crimes, are those who make money on the gun industry and prevent regulation because of greed. They are the ones who believe weapons designed for the theater of war can and should be modified to be used for "sport." The perpetrators are the lawmakers who block legislation that would allow records to be shared, records that could prevent guns ending up in the hands of criminals. They are the ones who interpret the right to bear arms as the right to be above the law and need for regulation.

And we are the bystanders: those of us who are horrified when the rare, mass-killing happens -- wracking our brains about why -- but failing to bring the same concern to the daily individual shootings. We are the ones who believe that gun violence is only about gangs and cities, not about abusive husbands and suicidal children. Bystanders see the problem but believe nothing can be done about it.

I would like to add one more category of people to Weisel's formulation: the Actor. The actor is the citizen who supports comprehensive gun control reform. The actors are the family members who speak out at funerals and rallies, sharing their pain and their loss and asking that the violence ends with their dead children. Local lawmakers who push for better education, better healthcare, and better services are the actors who know that gun violence is only a symptom of a deeply broken society. The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom and shares the same root as the word for wholeness. No one can be at peace in a world where wholeness is denied.

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