Gun Violence Leaves Me Wordless | Sojourners

Gun Violence Leaves Me Wordless

Poems, like prophets, say more with less.

LIKE MANY PEOPLE, I have spoken out more times than I can count under the literal and metaphorical banner of “Silence Is Violence,” my voice growing louder and louder in the past several years.

Yet recently, on one matter, I found myself having fewer words, not more. Gun violence rendered me mute.

The death counts that rise in real time. The fact that before we have comprehended one shooting, another has occurred. The relativizing of value and shifting calculus of loss we have begun to accommodate this “new normal.” The reality—contrary to what one would think based on media attention and political rhetoric—that mass shootings account for less than 2 percent of U.S. gun violence (suicides, by contrast, account for nearly 66 percent).

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