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Mass Shootings

As I’ve thought about the events of the last 48 hours, it has become apparent that I, as

your pastor, should speak to the horror in Uvalde, TX and, by extension, Buffalo, NY.

I have wondered whether a “religious” or “secular” response would be the most

appropriate. I have chosen a secular response in that, while reproductive rights bring

religious fervor and mass demonstrations, rampant gun violence seems to not even

move the religious needle. As if God somehow loves elementary school children less

than….


In considering this turn of events, my mind has been taken to the US Declaration of

Independence that, in part stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men

(sic) are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable

rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”


These are the three inalienable rights named in our founding documents: life, liberty,

and the pursuit of happiness. The unbridled possession of firearms is not named

among them, but is a mere paragraph forming the second amendment to the

constitution. Frankly, because the amendment speaks to a “well-regulated militia,” I

have some questions as to the framer’s original intent

.

In Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX, we have seen death in lieu of life, terror in place of

liberty, and profound grief and sadness replacing happiness. In over 30 lives taken and

scores of extended family and friends devastated, inalienable rights as enumerated in

the Declaration of Independence have been denied in favor of wanton violence.


Even the preamble to the Constitution speaks of “forming a more perfect union.” How in

God’s creation is rampant gun violence forming a more perfect union?


Thoughts and prayers have done nothing to stem the tide of violence and bloodshed.


Let’s connect the dots. In both shootings, 18-year-old males were the perpetrators.

Both used assault style semi-automatic rifles, purchased legally with no background

check and employed with no training or licensing. We know that one had been

radicalized to racist ideology and had triggered suspicion regarding his stability. We do

not yet know enough of the Ulvalde shooter to draw conclusions about his mental state. Although anecdotally, shooting one’s grandmother prior to an attack does inform one’s opinion. Posts on his social media seem to confirm his intentions in real time.


Based upon the above, why are there not universal background checks on those

wishing to purchase weapons? Why are assault style rifles sold to 18-year-olds? For

that matter, why are assault style weapons even sold? If gun ownership is an

inalienable right, let’s simply ban the sale and possession of .223 ammunition and large

capacity magazines.


Would the prohibitions above have caused the two perpetrators to not act on their evil

impulse? Probably not, but the devastation wreaked would not have been so bloody.


Ironically, the NRA is scheduled to have its annual meeting in Houston this weekend. Is

there no sense of decency or decorum? Is there no bottom to the NRA’s pockets, into

which our elected leaders reach? I suspect we can answer that question as we follow

the money. Is the Second Amendment more important than life, liberty, and the pursuit

of happiness? I suspect the NRA helps us answer that question on an ongoing basis as

well.


I call upon our Senators, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, as well as our Representatives

Emmanuel Cleaver and Vickie Hartzler to actually have real conversation surrounding

gun violence in our society.


The very blood of our children is crying out for justice.



To respond directly to Pastor Paul, email him at nbumcpastor@gmail.com, or contact him at 816-724-0080

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