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More than prayers and sympathy

We, with the rest of our nation, deeply grieve the tragic loss of innocent life, of young children and two of their teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.  During the past weeks, our country has suffered the deaths of far too many victims of gun violence. First, in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, then in a church in Laguna Woods, California, and then the school in Uvalde.  This past month, terror has struck indiscriminately at Americans going about their daily activities: studying, playing, shopping, praying.

Were this unusual, we could wring our hands in anguish, and have faith that it was an aberration not likely to happen again.  But sadly, we know that this is not an anomaly.   So far, just this year, two hundred mass shootings and twenty-seven school shootings have taken place in the United States.  And we haven’t even concluded the month of May.

What do many of our elected and appointed officials do?  They send their thoughts and bow their heads in prayer!  Then they raise their hands and pass legislation that makes gun violence even more likely.  Just recently, Indiana joined over twenty other states in passing laws that allow for permit-less gun carry. The Supreme Court is similarly poised to make a major decision regarding a law governing whether licenses are needed to carry a concealed weapon.

Enough! It is long past time to turn prayers into responsible deeds and thoughts into purposeful gun control legislation. Failure to act is to be complicit.

In March of 2018, in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, we wrote a column in the Indianapolis Star:

“We are a country senselessly submerged in an arsenal of weaponry. Of what necessity and to what good purpose is this? How long will the political influence and monetary interest dominate American culture and define the Second Amendment? How many children must die needlessly, heartlessly, and tragically in the classrooms and yards of the schools to which their parents send them to be educated?”

“Prayers and sympathy will change nothing. We need the concerted effort of mind and heart of our citizens and elected officials to recognize that liberty is not liberty if it is not responsive to life and the pursuit of happiness.”

And here we are, yet once again, and again, and again. Enough!

The above was co-authored by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. 

About the Author
Dennis Sasso is Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, Indiana.
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