This isn't working.
I don't know the details of the shooting this morning in a Texas high school. I don't know what kind of weapon the shooter had, other than he was able to quickly and "efficiently" kill 8 and wound countless others. I don't know how this individual might have access to such high power weaponry. I don't know what would go through a human being's head, a precious child of God, to have such warped thoughts as to pull the trigger while staring into the eyes of their peers and fellow humans. There's a lot I don't know.
But I do know this isn't working.
I know what my position is. I know that I believe limited access to guns, particularly high powered, assault style weapons, will keep the body counts down in situations like this. I do know that I believe that we are called by Christ to value life, and to do so might mean doing something about the incredible capacity to kill we have created as human beings. I know my positions, and as a bonus I can go ahead now and fill in the comments from those who hold an opposing position. They will tell me that the Second Amendment is a right, and such rights should not be trampled upon. They might tell me that guns are a heritage and a tradition. They will accuse me of wanting to come take their guns (I don't). I know they'll say that the guns are already out there, so they need something to defend themselves. I know that I will rebut, saying that those positions come (largely) from the NRA, who spends an inordinate amount of money not to protect the rights of gun users, but to benefit and boost the sales of gun manufacturers. I know that we will go back and forth, circle round and round, probably wound and damage some friendships along the way, and then in a few months time forget that any of this has happened and wait for the next tragedy.
And in spite of all of that, I know this isn't working.
It isn't working because 8 kids aren't going to go home to their parents tonight. It isn't working because my wife asks me what we're going to do when our kids are at the church, just down the hall from me, and a gunman comes in, and I have no answer for her. It isn't working because I know my youth group kids are going to ask me about it, again, and I'm going to have to tell them that we're at a point in time in human history where they are as likely to experience a mass shooting in their school as anyone else is.
This is America. We are innovators of the highest order. The car? That was us. The plane? Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The iPhone? California. The moon? Our flag and footprints. So today, as I mourn, rather than pushing one position over another, I want to call all of us to a better debate. I want us to recognize that this just isn't working, this constant back and forth with absolutely zero action in it's wake. I want us to innovate, to find a way to work through this in a way that honors our national rights and heritage and keeps our children safe. We're going to have to give something up, both sides. That much is clear by the fact that our constant fighting back and forth for each and everything we want has left us stuck.
This isn't working.
But I bet if we snapped out of it, if we realized that we were stuck, if we valued people more than we valued our positions, if we debated with style and class, if we brought creativity to the process, if we set love as our truth north star, we might get somewhere. We might be able to solve this problem like we solved the myriad before. I don't mean to simplify, of course this will be hard. Of course we will have disagreements and difficulties. But we are America. Hard is what we do. Or at least it used to be.
Today, I'm praying for the students in Texas who will be forever shaped by this event. I'm praying for the mothers who are starting to realize they'll never hold their child again. I'm praying for our leaders, that they would have courage to do what needs to be done. I'm praying for my kids, that if we can't make this right, hopefully their generation can. And then, when my prayers are said, my prayers will be lived. Thoughts and prayers are wonderful, they're beautiful. But they must be followed by action. By boots on the ground. By votes.
Because this isn't working...
...but God is.
And he wants you and me to chip in.