Gun Violence in Public Spaces


Think of this scenario on the street. Two people meet up. We have two actors in this drama. The interaction changes dramatically when one of the people has a gun. A gun becomes a dynamic third actor, not a neutral object. When a gun, a trigger, is present, it may cause immediate and irreversible harm at a single touch. There may be violence or death at the slightest misunderstanding, raised temper or simple mishandling. When a gun is present there is no possibility of free interaction, discussion or debate.

     We continue to worship the second amendment while in 2018 we had children shot in our schools at an alarming rate. School shootings came to a halt because children were not in school in 2019!

    Gun violence is increasingly a part of our public spaces. Treating guns as a

supernatural power has consequences.

   We can create conversations that might break the cycle of grief after gun violence that defines so much of our memorial practices; the continual call for “thoughts and prayers.” I believe in thoughts and prayers. But, we need organized, productive discussions to understand the symbolic presence of guns in American culture.

   Gun manufacturers and distributors are enormously wealthy, beyond  belief. They will not give up the sale of one gun without a fight. Even though the NRA is weakened, the enormous amount of money behind selling guns will be pushback. “This is America. We sell stuff.” This answer is not good enough.

   Violence and deaths by guns in the U.S. far surpass rates in all other developed countries. Are American people more violent? Do we care less for our children? Do we have more depressed people who are suicidal? Do we put more of the mentally ill on our streets? The answer is “no.” We have more guns.

   We have faced tough challenges in America. We will face the proliferation of guns, but it will take all of us. We must be determined to get in touch with our core beliefs; ask, expect, even insist, that lawmakers make a change.