What options do ordinary people have to express their opinions about national issues? In a democracy like the United States, where free speech is a valued right, we don’t worry about being jailed or even killed for speaking out. In fact, it is our duty to speak out when there are unjust systems or treatment of people. As quoted in Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation, Chris Hedges protesting the militarization of our country, gave a speech called, “Real Hope Is About Doing Something.” He believes that hope is an action “which is always nonviolent, knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all… If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished.” (Nook Book, p. 35) This is why I choose to participate in protests and sit-ins.
We often hear the definition of insanity – “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.” As we deal with yet another massacre in the United States, that line keeps coming to me. There are common sense, responsible solutions to the ongoing social disease of gun violence. Fifty people lost their lives and fifty-three people were seriously injured by a man in Orlando with an AR-15 assault weapon. This was not a hunting weapon or a target shooting weapon, but one used to kill many people in a matter of seconds. This weapon had a high capacity magazine that enables the firing of many rounds in a short time.
If you notice that someone is having a heart attack, would you call 911? If you are walking down the street and notice a building on fire, would you call 911? I think it is safe to say most people would respond and make that call.
The United States has an ongoing crisis that shows no sign of going away. The epidemic of gun violence is the crisis that captured the NEW YORK TIMES and moved it to place an editorial on page 1 for the first time since 1920. Titled, “The Gun Epidemic,” the editorial calls Congress to task stating, “This is a moral outrage and national disgrace that people are legally purchasing weapons designed specifically to kill with brutal speed and efficiency.” The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS takes the republican congress to task for simply “offering their prayers,” instead noting that “God Isn’t Fixing This.” Congress must fix it.
Three years ago I wrote an article for the Dominican Sisters of Peace entitled, “Children Killing Children Must End Now.” It was written days after the shooting in Chardon, OH, in a high school cafeteria in which one child killed three children and wounded three more. He did it with his grandparents’ 22-caliber handgun, which he took from their home on a visit.
When I was asked a few weeks ago to write again, I said “yes.” Since then I have sat down three times to write and came up empty. What can I say? What can any of us say? Continue reading →
“The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” – Dan Reeves
I think most people can relate to this quote since disappointments and injustices find their way into our lives. Two remarkable people come to mind when I reflect on this quote. Two years ago Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan was shot in the head by Taliban members and almost died. She had attended school, and in the eyes of the Taliban, this was considered an offense against Islam. Following her surgery and a lengthy recovery, Malala dedicated her life to working for the rights of girls around the world to an education. She has taken her campaign to the world stage, notably, with a speech last year at the United Nations. Through her heroic efforts girls around the world have received encouragement to pursue an education that was thought to be impossible. At 17 she is the youngest woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Continue reading →