Another School Shooting in the United States
There has been another school shooting in the United States. Our epidemic of gun violence continues. According to the LA Times, at least half a dozen students were wounded and two others were killed at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA. Students remained behind locked doors for over an hour in an attempt to stay safe. Some reported barricading classroom doors and preparing to use a fire extinguisher as a defensive weapon. One student reportedly asked, “What kind of world is this?” A legitimate question, indeed.
While some national leaders will undoubtedly offer “thoughts and prayers”, we are reminded of the prophet Joel’s exhortation to “rend your hearts, not your garments.” Rather than offer well worn platitudes, perhaps it is time to search our hearts to discover why we continue to allow a culture of violence to flourish.
Some will want to respond to violence with more violence. Again, scripture seems to weigh in as we remember Jesus saying to Peter, “put away your sword.” We also remember the prophetic vision of a time when swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks (that is, moving from hurting people to nurturing people).
But beyond prayers, bible verses, and the maddening frequency of reports of school children and teens finding themselves in mortal danger, we are left with the required human response of the moment: young people are wounded and dead, and we cry out with broken hearts.
The Global Justice Institute calls for all people of faith to embrace the power of justice-love, to reject violence, and to affirm the right of every person to live safe and peaceful lives.
May God grant us wisdom and courage to seek and embrace answers to the problem of gun violence. May the wounded be strengthened. May the bereaved find comfort. And may our weary nation begin to heal. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Sunshine Cathedral, Fort Lauderdale, FL
On behalf of the Global Justice Institute