The Rt. Rev. Dean Wolfe has released a statement on the shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom in Overland Park, KS yesterday.
He says that the violence of Sunday is a reflection of the larger tide of violence that has overtaken the country.
On Sunday, the violence came to us. These are our neighbors. These are our friends. This is not somewhere strange and far away for us. These violent incidents happened in our diocese. My son played several basketball games at the Jewish Community Center when he was a student at Bishop Seabury Academy. We have friends who regularly participate in programs there.
On Sunday afternoon the Jewish Community Center was filled with young people from a myriad of faith traditions rehearsing plays and auditioning for musical competitions. It says something about the way in which people of different faith traditions live and work so closely together in our community that a man intent on killing members of the Jewish faith went to a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish assisted care facility and took the lives of two Methodists and a Roman Catholic. Hatred makes everyone look like the enemy.
He goes on to identify the rise in violence as a public health issue, saying:
We can say we are shocked by these events. And we are. We can say we are saddened. And that expression does not even begin to communicate our profound heartbreak. What we cannot say is we are surprised. Shootings and violent incidents like this one occur almost weekly in the United States of America. When will it stop? What will the faith community do about it?
This epidemic of violence has become a significant public health issue that calls for a response. What does it tell us when our children sound like old hands when it comes to tactics like “sheltering in place” or “locking down?” Due to the frequency of these shootings, our children have practiced these tactics for years. From the school shootings at Columbine, to the massacre of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to the mass murder of people attending a movie in Aurora, Colorado, this has become the new normal. It is not acceptable.
Read the statement in its entirety here.