In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
It’s time to repent and acknowledge that we urgently need changes.
Our country is grieving again; another school massacre took place last Thursday. This kind of disaster has become so common that school shooting are really noticed only if there are a high number of casualties and deaths.
Sadly we can also anticipate the responses. Our national leaders gave the first words of support and the debate on the reality of violence and the access to weapons in this country has started.
Everybody will say that we need to do something. But, because we have had many such massacres, we can anticipate that there will be few real measures to address the issue of gun violence.
It seems likely that the only real response will be to prepare our children for the next disaster that we can already predict.
According to Einstein, the definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing with the hope of a different result. But we continue responding to gun violence with the same rhetoric every time.
We cannot accept the reality that our society is particularly violent. We cannot accept the fact that the availability of weapons makes this kind of violence more likely. We cannot accept the fact that we are a society that glorifies violence.
We are not ready to admit that this level of violence doesn’t occur in any other part of the developed world, where there is a better control on weapons. We cannot accept the reality that we are the country with the most weapons in civilian hands.
We are not ready to acknowledge that we are the developed country that experiences more deaths by civilian firearms than any other in the world (more than 11.000 deaths by firearm last year).
And of course, we cannot accept the fact that maybe the second amendment of the Constitution – which guarantees the right to bear arms – was not written to justify what we are experiencing today.
The hardest thing is to acknowledge and confess our weaknesses. Some point to the easy access to weapons; others blame violent minority youth, or terrorism. Some blame the lack of sufficient police protection and others people with mental health issues. But the guilt is never ours.
The great majority of citizens of this country want to see changes in laws in order to insure more control of firearms. But the political interests on this matter are such that it is very unlikely that we see changes in laws on that issue, and we will suffer another disaster.
So, we keep on grieving, and repeating that something must be done, we blame others and continue to see our fellow citizens die.
The rest of the world looks at us thinking that we are insane. But we can’t see it. So, we remain paralyzed.
May the Lord have mercy on us and help us see that the problem is with us. If not, we shall soon grieve another massacre.
Given the current situation we can anticipate that we shall keep on seeing similar disasters – we’ll keep on grieving and losing our children.
It’s time to repent and acknowledge that we urgently need changes... in all of us.
Juan Francisco Martinez, Professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, USA.