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Bishop of Texas releases statement on the death of Deputy Darren Goforth

Bishop of Texas releases statement on the death of Deputy Darren Goforth

The Right Reverend C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, has released a statement in response to the death of Deputy Darren Goforth, who was shot at a gas station on Friday, August 28. Goforth’s funeral will take place this Friday at Second Baptist Church in Houston.

Statement on Death of Deputy Darren Goforth and Gun Violence
By the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas

(Houston, TX-Sept. 2, 2015)  Our prayers are with the family of Deputy Darren Goforth, brutally killed on Friday in a Houston area gas station. His death is another tragedy linked to the epidemic of gun violence, an epidemic that takes 32,514 lives a year in this country. (1)

Deputy Goforth’s death needs more response than righteous commentary about the second amendment. His death, the deaths of nine worshipers at the AME Church in Charleston, Trayvon Martin and so many others demand a rational, concerted effort to make universal background checks a requirement for gun ownership. The current system only applies to about 60% of gun sales.(2)

A terrorist’s threat has us all removing our shoes for the TSA agents; 10 reported victims of listeria in four states forced closure of every Blue Bell plant; in 1982, seven deaths from potassium cyanide laced Tylenol capsules changed forever how we package medications. How can the deaths of 2,677 children and 14,822 (3) more injured annually not demand a similar response?

We are all victims of the unhealthy and uncivil rhetoric in our country these days around a great many topics. It permeates digital media, our politics and the news and it dishonors all lives. Before we ever heard of the Black Lives Matter movement, we promised to “respect the dignity of every human being.”

We are called to make manifest that baptismal promise with prayer and with a thoughtful, rational response to Deputy Goforth’s murder, and the violent deaths of all victims of gun violence.  Find resources. Learn more about Bishops Against Gun Violence and help us seek common ground in efforts to curtail gun violence in our country.  See a video and read about actions taken at General Convention here.  Read a commentary by Dean Barkley Thompson here.

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

1 According the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
2 Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2010: Statistical Tables (February 2013)
3 Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
4 ibid

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Walt [Rivers]

For those worried about grammar: That's sad. For those who say the footnotes are a dead end: Just try googling it. I'm old and it less than 2 minutes to find each, just as they were printed. It is relevant article.

Please follow the comment policy in the future by posting with your first & last names. - editor

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Don [Ciaccio] edited

Bishop Doyle, taking away guns from law abiding citizens will do nothing to curb gun violence. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in America, yet each week dozens are injured or killed by guns. New gun laws will not impact the massive gun violence in cities like Chicago. CRIMINALS DON'T OBEY GUN LAWS. They won't obey any new ones either. I can't wait until January 1st. Open carry goes into effect in Texas. I'm sure Bishop Doyle will have another meltdown over that as well.

Please follow the commenting policy and post using your first & last names. - editor

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Ann Fontaine

I am not sure the bishop is advocating taking away your guns -- just a little more checking on who owns them, who can buy them, some training in their use. The reality is that most people kill their own family with their guns. I am not against owning guns but don't see the need from lots of them nor the high powered ones only intended to kill people.

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Carla

Bravo, Bishop.

Thank you for your comment, we ask that commenters use their first and last name, thanks, Editor

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Ann Fontaine

Police are more likely to be killed in areas with highest gun ownership http://news.uic.edu/police-homicide-higher-in-states-with-more-gun-ownership

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Stephen Mills

Bishop Doyle, I hope you are sincere in your desire to reduce violence in our society. If you truly are I would suggest the following three ideas:
1) Improve mental health programs. Fully half those 32,514 firearm deaths you cite are suicides. Increased and improved mental health programs could easily save some of those lives. Right now the mental health treatment system in this country is deplorable. The institution housing the largest number of mentally ill people is the Cook County Jail. Jails and prisons are not organized or equipped to treat mental illness. Our programs and institutions to treat the mentally ill must be improved.
2) End the war on drugs and use the money for treatment programs. One hundred years and countless billions of dollars later, illegal drugs can be found in every state of the union. What we have done is to funnel billions of dollars in illicit profits to the most vicious elements in our society. When a drug dealer gets ripped off, they do not call on the police they exact vengeance. Then the other side retaliates and the cycle of violence perpetuates and escalates. We must stop treating addicts as criminals.
3) Most of the violence in our society is located in the inner cities. Improve the inner cities and you will decrease the violence. This is root cause mitigation. Improve the schools, establish job training programs, help at risk youth, address income inequality and give the people living in the inner city hope of a better life. It is that simple. And as a result society as a whole will benefit.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

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Marshall Scott

Brother Stephen, all true. And, I would also note that St. Luke's Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of Texas has a long history as one of the most active providers of health care in Texas, and especially in Houston. With the sale of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, the proceeds have been refocused to support primary medical and behavioral health services (for example, this article). Your points are certainly well taken; and in this instance Bishop Doyle and the Diocese of Texas are, in fact, leading in the Church in providing care.

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John Chilton

It appears that you are trying to change the subject. Why can't it be all those things and gun policy itself? Why when someone argues for policy that would bring some sanity to gun policy must they list all the other factors as well?

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