Guns kill people

Guns are not choosy. Guns just kill people. It’s their modus operandi. It’s what they do.

We are hearing more, bit by bit, about the latest victims of the latest shooting rampage. Each detail chips a little more flint from our hearts. The sister who sneaks up and holds your hand. The mother of the bride. The older man with the inimitable friendly greeting. The woman who could not respond to increasingly frantic texts, because no, she was not all right. No, she was not safe. The son who spoke to his mother just the day before, as though nothing were amiss, because back then, nothing was. God heal their souls from their violent passage and bring them to peace; God help his mother, her brother, her daughter, his friends; God console all those who are in grief.

Including the soul and the family of the thirteenth person to die, the one plagued by paranoia, who had called for help with voices and radiation machines and sleep-stealing vibrations, who had difficulty, apparently, telling nightmares from reality. The one to whom we sold a gun.

A lawyer for the gun dealer assures us that the transaction was legal. The requisite background checks were run. I guess there was no mandated waiting period. This man was allowed, was invited by us to buy a shotgun and ammunition. A man who could not tell reality from nightmare was handed the responsibility for controlling a deadly device, a machine manufactured to kill.

We failed that man on Saturday [corrected from Sunday following NPR’s similar correction], and because we did, we failed a dozen more people on Monday, and their families, and their friends, and our own children to whom we now have to explain yet again why the news is so sad, so scary, so damn wrong.

At the risk of repeating myself, and with all respect to the dead and those who mourn them: Guns kill people. It is their raison d’etre. That being the case, we must control them. We must clip their wings and limit their clips and we must do it before more blood is shed, because if we do not, that blood is on our hands.

We, the people, run this country, so our laws say. Guns kill people. We, the people, need to fight back.

this post has been updated to credit news sources

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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