I had planned to come home from Mass tonight and write about the incredible joy I felt at the honor of helping distribute ashes for Ash Wednesday tonight.
As it turns out, I was in such a rush to get to Mass, I had forgotten to turn off my TV. I knew there had been a school shooting in Florida, but I had seen a news scroll that had shown one dead.
At 9 pm, by the time I talked to friends after a long and crowded service and got some food to bring home for a late dinner, I walked in to hear there were 17 dead in the 18th school shooting in the U.S. since the start of 2018 alone.
And my joy disappeared. All I could think of was the little babies and toddlers whose foreheads I had marked with the Sign of the Cross this evening. I don’t know any of their names ( we have a large, bi-lingual Church). But I pray for all of them that they do not grow up to experience as teens what those students did today in Florida.
I saw so much innocence tonight at Church. And as the I-phone clips of the shooting and the interviews of the teachers, students and parents unfold across my TV screen, I see the death of innocence too.
We can ask God “why.” But we also already know the answer. We love our guns too much. We value our privilege to own one far greater than we value human life. Our political machine loves the moneyed-oil of the NRA more than it cares about those victimized in our gun-obsessed society.
Bullets mean more than souls.
It is time for our elected officials, for gun fans, for all of us to ask – who in our society really needs semi-automatic and automatic rifles to protect their homes, to hunt animals in the woods? Just because we can have them, should we?
Why are we so afraid of thorough and complete background checks for the privilege of gun ownership if we have nothing to hide? Why is it so inconvenient to wait a week or two to take possession of a weapon for that background check to be complete? I have waited longer to get a doctor’s appointment!
Why do we require people to take driving classes for the privilege of being on our streets, but not to carry a gun in public spaces?
Why do we allow people to carry those guns in a concealed manner so we don’t even know they have them?
We know these questions and we already know the sane answers to them.
Yet we let the insanity continue.
The real question is why we continue the insanity.