Almost two weeks ago, in the aftermath of the Aurora shootings, I asked when (and what) were we going to do about the easy availability of guns to people with mental problems. The Aurora shooter was obviously deranged, yet somehow, he managed to collect a rather extensive arsenal including 6000 rounds of ammo, at least one assault-type rifle, high-capacity magazines and multiple hand guns and full set of body armor. He planned his attack meticulously and because of that, James Holmes managed to kill 12 people, wound 58 others and somehow come through it all relatively unscathed. The latest person to try this didn’t come out so well. Yesterday, it happened again. Wade Michael Page, 40-something white man, walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin with a pair pistols and began shooting. When the dust settled, 6 Sikhs were dead as was Page. The officer who killed him was shot himself as he was rendering first aid to one of Page’s victims and is in critical care, along with 4 other wounded Sikhs. There’s much speculation floating around as to his affiliations, his motive, etc. Saying anything other than what I already have would irresponsible, so I’ll refrain.
Except for this: I don’t know if this figured into Page’s thinking, many ignorant people think Sikhs are muslims and therefore a potential terrorist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sikhism has much more in common with Buddhism than Islam. About the only thing that Sikhs and Muslims have in common is dress, wearing robes instead of western-style clothes. Men don’t shave and they wear colorful turbans. While they don’t practice the same extreme non-violence of Buddhists they do believe that violence is not a good thing. Many Sikh community have reported a rise in harassment and hate in the wake 9-11, based solely on their appearance. Those of you who think everyone wearing a turban and a robe is Muslim terrorist might want to re-think that asinine stand.
After the Aurora shootings, we were told that talking about gun control (curtailing weapons availability to mentally ill people) was wrong, that we were politicizing a tragedy. I asked then and I’ll ask again: when are we going to have a real discussion about this subject? How many more innocent people have to die before the NRA and the Republicans will come to the table, truly willing to fix this problem? When will the NRA and its various splinter groups stop seeing a boogeyman behind each bush, just waiting to take their guns away? When both sides of this debate actually debate this issue instead of using for political posturing and a smoke screen to keep us from seeing what they’re really up to; lining their pockets at our expense? And, when is the church going to get involved? And, I’m not talking about prayer vigils, candlelight services and all that stuff. I’m talking about the kind of political action we engaged in during the fight against Amendment One. I’m talking about being on the front lines of this issue, just like we did in during civil rights movement. I’m talking about teaching this:
” “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
I know a lot people who profess to be Christian, yet would rely on a weapon and not the power of Christ and his promise to care for us. I hate to tell you friends, that’s not even close to being Christ-like.
In the last two weeks, a deranged person has walked into a public space and opened fire, killing a grand total of 19 and wounding 62 and still the right claims this isn’t the time to talk about it. Personally, I think they’re full of shit. It’s way past time that we, the people, stood up and demanded that elected officials got their heads out the NRA’s trough and did something about this.