Jamie D. Aten 2-23-2018

Bob Ossler, chaplain with the Cape Coral volunteer fire department, places seventeen crosses for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on a fence a short distance from the school in Parkland, Fla. Image via Reuters/Jonathan Drake

As a Christian, a husband and father, a friend, a disaster ministry expert, a researcher, and a psychologist — I believe we need to take action to stop gun violence in our country. Here’s why.

Mark Hiskes 2-23-2018

A woman mourns in front of the fence of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

A high school shooting. 17 dead.
Angry white man. Assault rifle.
Broken community. Candle-lit vigils.
Grief. Rage. Hearts. Crosses.

Sandi Villarreal 2-23-2018

Over the past week — after listening sessions with the student survivors of the Parkland shooting and parents who have lost children, as well as state and local leaders — the most repeated solution to the epidemic of gun violence that President Donald Trump has offered is arming some percentage of our school’s teachers.

Jim Wallis 2-22-2018

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez comforts a classmate. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool

Something is happening with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and, because of them, something is happening to us as a nation.

the Web Editors 2-22-2018

Image via Reuters/Colin Hackley

The CNN town hall was only one of dozens of rallies, protests, walkouts, interviews, listening sessions, and town halls around Florida and at the White House yesterday. The New York Times compiled 11 of the most compelling statements from yesterday’s national confrontation over guns.

the Web Editors 2-21-2018

Robertson's comments are a drastic shift from what Robertson has said in the past in regards to gun control. He has previously voiced his support for arming church attendees. 

FILE PHOTO: Director George Clooney and his wife Amal attend the premiere for "Suburbicon" Oct. 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and Steven Spielberg said on Tuesday they would each donate $500,000 to the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington in support of gun control following last week's shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

Benjamin Perry 2-20-2018

Firearms are shown for sale at the AO Sword gun store in El Cajon, Calif., Jan. 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
 

On Friday, The Cut published a reflection from Parkland shooting survivor Carly Novell, in which she describes her hours-long experience cowering in a closet. On its own, her story is harrowing — the kind of trauma no child should endure. The kicker, though, is that Novell’s grandfather was also forced to hide in a closet as his parents were murdered during a 1949 shooting in Camden, N.J. Separated by 69 years, the bone-chilling similarity of their experience is a devastating indictment of a nation that has tacitly accepted ubiquitous bloodshed.

John J. Thatamanil 2-20-2018

A student protester chants at a rally calling for more gun control in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., U.S., Feb. 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
 

When NRA-funded Republicans offer their “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings, to which God are they praying? Republicans cannot be praying to the Jesus who said, “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.” Surely, they cannot be praying to the prophet Isaiah’s God who heralds the coming of a day when God will cause people to:

“…beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

Crosses for the victims of yesterday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hang on a fence a short distance from the school in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

In all, 17 people were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., making it one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history.

Kelley Burd-Huss 2-15-2018

Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sobs as she holds signs honoring slain teachers and friends in Parkland, Fla. Feb. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson

The National Rifle Association, the conversation leader in our country's debate on gun violence, is an organization founded and operated as a trade association for the firearms industry. In short? Their chief reason for existence is to sell more guns and gun accessories. And the money reflects this reality. 

The site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
 

“My job as the shepherd of the church is to protect the flock. And I will do so with whatever means I need.”

Rose Marie Berger 1-26-2018

THIRTEEN YEARS ago, on Holy Thursday, 9-year-old Donte Manning was shot around the corner from my house in Washington, D.C.

He died of his injuries four weeks later, on the Feast of Paschasius Radbertus, a ninth-century Benedictine theologian who wrote on intimacy between the body of Christ crucified and the real presence in the Eucharist. Donte’s death impacted me deeply. (I wrote a book about his murder.)

Caught in the crossfire between neighborhood rivals, Donte Manning was the real body sacrificed on the altar of this imperial city where teenage boys shoot each other over $200 Air Jordans and the Pentagon exports more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces, just in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The Pentagon lost track of more than half of them.)

As theologian Ched Myers reminds, “Against the presence of Power is pitted the power of Presence: God with us.”

Donte Manning’s murder was never solved. It remains a cold case. Mitch Credle, the investigating detective, retired from the D.C. Metropolitan Police. In October, he decided it was time to talk about his one unsolved murder. He was interviewed by local news reporter Paul Wagner.

Students attend a prayer vigil for students killed and injured after a 15-year-old boy opened fire with a handgun at MarshallCounty High School, at Life in Christ Church in Marion, Kentucky, U.S., January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

How does this happen in our hometown? We read about it and see it all too frequently on the news in other parts of the nation. But not here, not in our home. What are we to do with a tragedy of this magnitude in our community?

the Web Editors 1-25-2018

Through a spokesman, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signaled he will veto the measure if it reaches his desk. “The governor is ready to work with the General Assembly to promote responsible gun ownership, but he does not believe more guns in more locations is a solution to the real problem of gun violence,” Northam spokesman Brian Coy said.

the Web Editors 11-16-2017

People gather to enter a memorial in the Sutherland SpringsFirst Baptist Church where a memorial has been set up to remember those killed there, in a mass shooting in SutherlandSprings, Texas, U.S. November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz

Introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the bill would galvanize states to ensure records are uploaded and accurate in the National Instant Background Check System (NICS).

Mourners hold signs during a solidarity vigil in memory of victims of Las Vegas' Route 91 Harvest music festival mass killing, in Newtown, Connecticut U.S., the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin/File Photo

The families claim Remington and the other defendants "extolled the militaristic and assaultive qualities" of the AR-15, advertising the rifle as "mission-adaptable" and "the ultimate combat weapons system" in a deliberate pitch to a demographic of young men fascinated by the military.

Jamie D. Aten 11-14-2017

Image via Rick Wilking/Reuters.

I’ve dedicated my career to helping churches prepare for disasters, including mass shootings. And I believe that responding to the Texas church mass shooting with an arms race does more to protect fear than it does to protect our churches. Here are three suggestions I want to offer the U.S. church now.


Brandy Jones prays in front of 26 crosses erected near the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
 

Our thoughts and prayers are fleeting breath.

If we just dream of what could be

And do not build community,

And do not seek to change our ways,

Our dreams of change are false displays.

the Web Editors 11-08-2017

She called for the end of "the boyfriend loophole," referring to the 20-year-old Lautenberg Act that barred individuals who are married, in a domestic partnership, or have children to own guns. Outside of that realm, domestic abusers are still allowed to own guns.