News of the mass shootings in Dayton, El Paso, Gilroy, and Southhaven came as we were getting settled in London. I experienced it differently than I would have if I had been in the United States. I felt somehow removed from it and, at the same time, numb. It is clear by now that the ruling political party in the United States has decided that these mass killings are acceptable. And it is also clear that they will continue to happen at a horrifying rate. That is, unless something changes. And I am not certain where the movement to change gun policies would come from or how it would get past what seems to be the great political power of the NRA.
Right now, I am in a country that almost never has mass shootings. In the mid-1990s, after the Dunblane Primary School Shooting, the United Kingdom put in place serious gun control legislation. Since then the country hasn’t had a mass shooting that resembles any of the mass shootings that have taken place in the United States in the last week.
This simple fact is a reminder that the continuing presence of these shootings is a result of policy decisions that political leaders in the United States make. They could choose to regulate guns differently. And they don’t. And so, the shootings continue.
UUA President the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s words capture most of the rest of my sentiments on the week’s tragedies:
We open our hearts to the people of Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton and Southhaven in compassion and heartbreak, anger and shock.
From our grief, may we find strength and courage to fight the systems that perpetuate this violence.
To that I’ll add an Amen.