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FREEDOM UNDER FIRE      

©Rebeka Maples, written after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018 [caption id="attachment_6086" align="alignright" width="300"] Students at St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans hold a memorial prayer service.[/caption] The safety locks are off, the demons are out Moving wherever hate leads In and out of love’s resting places Running loose where madness wills. Does love not care? Has humanity retreated from the good it knows? Will this madness forever reign, Making the street into a shooting range? Have you not seen? Have you not heard? What love can do? Have all who hold peace in their hearts fallen asleep? Will this weariness not be lifted, when morning comes? Will the light that shines through, Not bring this everlasting search into everlasting hope? [caption id="attachment_6085" align="alignright" width="300"] Students at St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans hold a memorial prayer service.[/caption] For heaven’s sake, the murmurs of the dying ring into the night, Yet the warring mongers take their cries for more weapons And follow where innocents linger, Dashing them against the walls and spilling dreams, Never dreamed they remain covered by the whims of time, Leaving shells of empty souls crying out for love to enter. Walking through the veil from life to death, earth to heaven, Death meets life and stalks the living from birth to now and beyond. Those who wield their armor strike the breath that longs to breathe In places that have yet to live, While places that yet should die live with no regard for life. Why must the living, who are always dying, Face this mutilation of a season before its time? Why, the heart cries? Why, the soul laments? [caption id="attachment_6087" align="alignright" width="300"] Students and staff at Our Lady of the Elms Primary and High Schools in Akron, OH, tie orange ribbons to a tree in the school courtyard as part of their memorial service.[/caption] Where is mercy? Where is grace? Is this metal that burns out life the treasure you hold above all else? For if this be your treasure, there your heart is also. A heart that pounds inside this death trap, Where guns are stored in a treasure trove For war and death, not love and life. And now that heart beats for children whose voices cry out, For those who would take the step and dare to lead another way. Sad be the day, when the young can no longer trust the old, They must find where love has gone and help the nation save its soul. What is this freedom that appeases the worshiper of guns? Is it for love of country, of humanity, or of God? What God upholds this freedom that you pledge? When anger rises, and it will in every living soul, The gun is ever ready, cocked and loaded to kill a child, a man, a woman. Where does this anger dwell? It lives in every heart and so does love. What is this madness that gives freedom to a gun? Is the maker of the gun the Maker of that nation’s soul? If this be the case, then killings will continue with guns upon the altar. Oh may the day come, and come it will to every nation and every soul, When death will not reason with the living, But the living will seek reason to avoid death. And may the guns that control the nation be a nightmare from the past, That a people’s freedom may aspire to greater heights and brighter days, For glory comes in morning light, not in bullets blazing through the night. Guns will not a hero make. It is love that flows through the heart of freedom, And it is love that will break the chokehold on the nation’s gasping breath. Bringing hope and love to restore a nation’s bleeding heart.

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