This is from my first op-ed published in the Plain Dealer: online today at cleveland.com; in print later this week (so I’m told).
What does the notion that a trip to the local sports bar requires a concealed weapon do to our way of being in community? What do guns in schools teach our children about how to live together? What does the introduction of weapons to our churches say about our faith?
There is something profoundly alienating about the idea that the only way we can be safe is to be ready at any moment to kill. It is a bias of mine that we do not make ourselves or one another safer by carrying death more closely in our pockets, or binding its tools to our bodies.
I first drafted this essay in the aftermath of a rash of mass shootings in the US. Ohio, Orlando, Pennsylvania, San Francisco – this last happened on the same day as the egregious attempted assassinations of congressmen practicing baseball in Virginia. The toll of mass gun violence between May and June was staggering. I knew that it didn’t begin to describe the scale of injury and death that is inflicted day by day, week by week, through homicide, suicide, accident, and neglect across our country. I found it curious how little attention those of us who are a little more insulated by our experience pay to the public health hazard that is gun violence.
I updated the piece, and sent it to the press, as the Ohio State legislature began to process a Bill that would further expand the prevalence of guns in public places, and which seeks further to relax our grip on understanding that these weapons are causing us irreparable harm. That same week, on Independence Day, and eight-year-old was grazed by a bullet slicing past him at a beachfront park.
If our independence is to promote our freedoms, our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then we need to rein in the violence. We need to get control of our weaponry. That is my opinion.
Read the essay here.