The Rt Revs Jon Bruno of Los Angeles and James Curry of Connecticut are asking people to sign online petitions to end gun violence:
From Bishop Bruno, 5 Ways to Stop Gun Violence in America”
From my experience as a pastor and former police officer, I know what it is to reach out in open-handed care of others, and I also know what it is to fire a weapon, taking life in the line of duty. I also know from experience about grieving with parents whose children have been fatally shot on the streets of both urban and suburban neighborhoods.
(1.) Reach out to young people – especially those who express feelings of being alienated, isolated, or disenfranchised – and those who need mentoring, encouragement, and opportunities to break out of cycles of despair, hate, rage and frustration. Provide that guidance – a “hand up” for success.
(2.) Help parents – particularly single parents who need practical support in responding to challenges with older children and teenagers, including those in need of mental healthcare. Determine and achieve what is needed to strengthen those lives, one family at a time – and work to support the availability of services to all people regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds.
(3.) Make sure there is a moral compass firmly in the hand of every person. Start with the Golden Rule, build to the 10 commandments, and teach and model peacemaking and non-violence at every opportunity. Demonstrate alternatives to behavior fueled by anger, or by violence seen in media. Parents, teachers and clergy must not neglect these responsibilities.
(4.) Support federal policy changes while securing weapons. Write an email or call public officials locally, regionally and nationally to insist on reinstatement of the federal assault weapon ban and increased mental healthcare resources. Every first-grader’s right to learn safely in his or her classroom far outweighs any claim I might invoke to own or operate an assault weapon. Meanwhile, make certain that any firearms in homes are fully locked down, or better yet – surrender those weapons to any local police station.
(5.) Express your support for local police officers and first responders who stand in harm’s way on a daily basis. More than ever, these professionals need our care and encouragement to meet the challenges of protecting and serving our communities. If we paid more attention to meeting societal needs in the way of education and mental healthcare, we would not have to depend solely on the expertise of our police and fire safety personnel.
Sign Bishop Bruno’s petition here.
James Curry, suffragan bishop of Connecticut writes:
My home State of Connecticut, where I serve as one of the Bishops of Episcopal Diocese, is only the latest venue of terrible, unspeakable violence. And it has marked us forever. But if we do not demand action now from our leaders, which state or community will be next to know our pain and grief?
I ask your prayers for the victims of the shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School and their families, for the perpetrator and his family, for our churches, our towns and cities. And I call for our action.
President Obama is right. We can no longer be silent about gun violence in our society. We have been timid for too long.
It is time for us to demand the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons as a first step. We need to build on the momentum in Congress that this horrific tragedy has set into motion. We are accountable and we need to hold our lawmakers accountable. Please join me in calling on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban as a first step to ending mass shootings in America.
Sign Bishop Curry’s petition here.