By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young me from the streets.” (Jeremiah 9:21)
So once more America becomes a place of gun fueled, violent madness and once more the victims in a mass murder are children. While it is true that even younger children were the victims at Sandy Hook and nothing happened but the issuing of weak condolences, there may well be a difference in how this story continues to unfold. The survivors have something the children of Sandy Hook and the children in cities like Chicago and Los Angles never had. Voices that not only refused to be quenched, but voices that have evolved into a power group and are demanding to be not just heard but listened to.
As those in our community know all too well, children are murdered by guns every day of the week somewhere in cities in America. But because these children are not murdered in large numbers at one time and because they do not come from white, privileged communities, they are ignored and their lives made small of. They are part of a social pandemic that is never acknowledged.
Not so this time- the gun murder victims at Margret Stoneman Douglas are children from middle and upper middle class families. They are white, privileged and articulate. The like youth who have found a cause are refusing to compromise, refusing to accept platitudes of convenient sympathy from politicians and refusing to be mollified by those saying they should have time to heal before a time to talk. Even before holding those accountable for this incident that deserve every bit of the angry scrutiny the surviving students are giving them.
While I am hopeful this new movement will accomplish the goal of making politicians be serious about passing effective gun control laws, I wonder if the students understand how cowardly many of these politicians including the President are when it comes to opposing the desires of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The organization does not care who is killed, who does the killing and where it happens. All the NRA cares about is that its members can purchase any type of gun they want to even if those members are mentally unstable, psychologically impaired or political extremist. Their god is the gun and they want to worship however they intend, no matter what the consequences are. They kneel at an altar blood- drenched and covered with names of innocents. Even more the NRA has political power that is almost immeasurable.
None of these folk seem to care that these kinds of mass murders happen nowhere else but in America. What that says about the country and those who govern it is obvious.
Yet, there is this: last week I wrote about the need for the onset of a new political party and the development of an agenda that makes us a priority. How that can be sparked is being demonstrated by the students. First there has to be not just a commitment but a passionate commitment; there has to be a willingness to take on those who oppose or are indifferent to your priorities; and there has to be an understanding on your behalf that you keep moving even if you have to keep moving all alone.
We have been losing our children for a long, long time. They are being murdered by guns wielded by each other; by an education system that is ineffective and out of step with these times; by the popularity of a technology that encourages a lack of social responsibility and by adults who are either afraid of them or uncaring about their victimhood.
We live in a power group system and we need a new power group. One that will at least give our children a chance at a better future. We have to take our children from survival to success to significance to spiritual transformation. Or we can do nothing. Which is what we’ve been doing.