#212 and #30

Today, on the 144th day of the year, we as a country are facing the 212th mass shooting and the 30th shooting in a K-12 school in 2022.  There is no way to adequately describe the pain and despair that so many of us feel today.

I’ve thought for a while about what to say in response to the tragedy.  One thing I can say is that the phrase that has been trotted out so much in public after the barrage of tragedies – “My thoughts are prayers are with you …” – is clearly not enough.  We need to pick up on the spirit of the utterance and tweak it a little.  Something along the lines of, “I’m focusing my thoughts and prayers on figuring out what God is calling me to DO in response to the tragedy.”

I tweaked the phrase because I want to make two things clear.  First, we can no longer settle for simply THINKING about the series of tragedies.  Now is the time for each of us to respond with some form of action.  Which leads me to my second point: the actions that come from the shooting will be different for many of us.  Some of us, for instance, will be motivated to join and/or support an organization like Moms Demand Action; others will be motivated to join and/or support organizations that support those dealing with emotional and mental health challenges like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).  Some of us will start registering people to vote so they can support candidates who will take action to deal with the gun violence; others will pick up the Primary ballot they set to the side and re-commit to completing and sending in their ballot to support those willing to address the issues involved. Some will respond by reaching out to a social service agency to report a loved one exhibiting violent tendencies so their loved one can finally get the help they need; others will respond by making a concerted effort to get to know more neighbors in the community as a way of building relationships.  Some will bring the recent events to their prayer group as a way of building spiritual strength and support so they – and their prayer partners – don’t have to face the tragedy alone; others will initiate a conversation about what happened with a loved one where they can share their concerns and actions they are committing themselves to in light of the violence.

The list of possible responses is long, indeed.  There is just one response which is no longer an option: doing nothing.

I know that in the wake of yet ANOTHER senseless (and entirely preventable) tragedy, it will be very tempting to go on the attack and channel your pain into lashing out at others.  That is what so many Americans do these days.

Instead of keeping the seemingly endless cycle of violence alive, my prayer is that each of us will find some way we can respond in action – so that our thoughts and prayers generate the actions needed to address this issue.  In the darkness of this day, may God help us find our way to healing and hope – both individually and collectively.

About Pastor Craig

I'm a 54-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, CA with his black Labrador Retriever named Max. I'm an ordained clergy person in the United Church of Christ. My passions include spirituality, politics, and sports (Go Houston teams, go!). I use my blog to start conversations rather than merely spout my perspectives and opinions. I hope you'll post a question, comment, or observation for me to respond - so we can get the conversation started!
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5 Responses to #212 and #30

  1. Thanks, Craig. I would add to the things to do: writing an email to every elected representative you have (starting with state representative to President). You can write one email and copy and send it to all your reps. Make the email personal – let them know how you feel. If any family members or close friends have been involved in a school lockdown or exposed to a shooting, include that in the email. If you know if they have kids, ask them how they would feel if their kids were involved in a shooting, etc. Prayers have a lot of power but I’m way past the praying hands and broken heart emojis on Facebook.

  2. Cheri Moore says:

    As someone who had family members in Columbine during the massacre there I know that saying “My thoughts are prayers are with you …” has NEVER been enough. Fortunately my relatives were not physically injured in the shooting but the consequences and repercussions of being there echo to this day. I have long been an advocate for/member of NAMI, and a regular correspondent with all my elected official from local to national on the subjects of gun violence, mental health and our gun laws. It’s time for everyone to wake up and realize that this entire situation is “our” problem. Thank you for a thoughtful piece on this sad reality.

  3. Pam Eychner says:

    I agree! Each of us MUST find a way to respond to this horrific incident with action. Our prayers & heartfelt condolences are NOT enough! Our hearts are broken once again but think of the parents, the grandparents, the brothers & sisters of these precious children whose lives have been senselessly taken in such a violent way. It’s our responsibility as human beings to accurately DO something this time!!!

  4. Zazel D. Whitney says:

    I have been crying and praying since i heard the news! I plan to give some money to Stacy’s Moms Demand Action. In my prayers I ask God to give comfort to the families involved. But the pain of losing a child will never go away!

  5. Stevie says:

    The past couple days you have really made me think, Craig. I have lamented the helpless feelings I have had lately. I’m not one to jump on bandwagons, but my vow is to do more than I am doing now. ❤️

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