Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I find myself struggling to put into words anything meaningful in light of the tragic events that took place in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas last month. The entire Viatorian Community grieves for the tragic and senseless loss of precious life, and we pray for those who will live forever with the pain and trauma of what took place.
The statistics are undeniable: According to National Public Radio, 27 school shootings have taken place so far in 2022, while Insider.com reports that there have been 214 mass shootings overall this year in our country. Some 17,300 people have lost their lives here in the United States because of uncontrolled gun violence and sadly, that number goes up daily.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that in the 15 mass shootings over the past 10 years, “authorities said the gunman was able to obtain the weapons legally.”
It is time to be heard and not relent until mass shootings are no longer the norm. We as Viatorians are calling on all of those in our communities to take further action. The continual stream of senseless violence against children, people of color, immigrants, and others must end. Here’s what we can do, now:
- Begin in your own home by having direct and honest conversations with children, teaching them acceptance, responsibility, and addressing the social-emotional needs they may be experiencing.
- With older children, have frank discussions about social responsibility and how each of us must take responsibility through our words and actions to challenge those who seek to diminish the value of others. Be a living example of acceptance and social responsibility.
- Contact your elected officials and demand that they take immediate action to pass common sense gun legislation that creates better background checks, eliminates access to military-style weapons and ammunition, and provides more comprehensive mental health support programs. It is time for the protection of innocent people, especially children in classrooms, to be a priority over lobbyists and special interest groups.
We must speak out. We cannot be silent any longer. Our country is being dismantled from within.
In St. Viator
Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV