What Will It Take for Change?

How many more deaths?  How many people must be killed in senseless acts of violence before our government takes action?  How many must more candlelight vigils be held?

How much more “Breaking News” incidents must be endured?  When will the United States awake from the seemingly endless situation of terror, hatred, death, and endless declarations of thoughts and prayers without action?

How many more deaths?According to official’s sources, there are approximately 93 deaths every day due to the use of weapons, which is estimated to be about 33,000 deaths per year. Anywhere else in the world this would be considered a crisis of epic proportions and emergency of internal terror. Unfortunately here in the United States, this is just the continued state of affairs.  

Today the general assumption is that the Founders enshrined the freedom to bear arms in the Constitution more than 200 years ago, through the following phrase: " A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. " Which means that neither the federal government nor the state and local governments can restrict the right of their citizens to carry arms.

Paradoxically what was enshrined in the Constitution to prevent tyranny has now become the most painful freedom that citizens have in their hands. Each day the right of a person to bear arms also opens the possibility of death for another.  

The Obama administration sought to modify federal gun laws to provide some simple and reasonable measures that would allow for further verification of potential gun buyers.  However, these measures launched after the Sandy Hook massacre died a slow death in the Congress due to the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association.  It was considered a check on Constitutional rights to have additional “background checks” on potential gun and ammunition purchases. 

At the end of the day, the ultimate outcome of more guns and ammunition on the street is clear, increased bloodshed and death.  Another indisputable sample of the results of totally uncontrolled bullets and guns sells was evidenced on Sunday, November 5.  During the religious service that brought together 50 members and parishioners of the First Baptist church in Texas, death entered through its welcoming doors through a semi-automatic assault rifle that killed 26 people (among them children, a pregnant woman, and elderly people, in addition to 20 injured at the hospital). The white man crossed the threshold from Constitutional gun holder to American Terror was a former Air Force Service member.  The 26-year old white man had been dishonorably discharged and spent time in prison but was still able to access to a semi-automatic weapon.  His hatred spilled out with a deadly outcome for the residents of Sutherland Springs.  Again the pain, the blood spilled, the access to weapons and hatred for the other gives cries of torment and suffering.  Yet again, with yearnings of sincerity, every day, every hour, every minute, in which the images and videos jump of murders and shootings, and shows us the terrible human misery in which we live in this country, and although many are silent, the truth is that it hurts us all.  Some our mollified by the thoughts that another gun holder was able to scare off the shooter from further harm, but really is this the society we hope to be?  A society in which every person carries a gun and dispenses justice as they see fit and trample over the sanctity of life?

Social networks are now a source of new and terrifying examples of how to kill, cause pain and destroy communities.  In the ever-expanding forms of death and terror, it is clear that weekly there will be another act of senseless mass-violence and hatred. The most peaceful places can end in places of death and massacres, schools, churches, shopping centers, bars, theaters, cinemas, airports, train stations, streets, and sidewalks are already on the list. Each day a different new place opens the doors to terror, in the most unusual town or the most acclaimed city, both can - and have been the epicenter of terror and hatred. In the last week, two attacks shook New York and Texas.

I write these lines with pain and fear, asking myself, until when? How far? Who will be the next victim? I have no answers, all I have left is to continue asking what information, what act, how many deaths, what, where, who?

What will be enough to move our country to change from its horrific attachment and fascination with weapons and guns to a more a sensible approach that values the dignity of all life?   

How many people need to be murdered to change our gun laws?

And while we wait, we raise our voices, we pray, we pray for a law that conditions and controls the use of weapons. Every day, with the pain we continue counting and crying for our dead.