In the aftermath of a massacre such as the one that occurred Friday in Newtown, is it helpful for Christians to do anything other than pray and offer comfort to those who have been affected by the violence?
I ask this question because there are credible Christians leaders saying that now is the time to deal with the root causes of gun-related violence and violence committed by people who may be mentally unbalanced, while other Christian leaders are saying that it is wrong to bring up these issues in the immediate aftermath of such a deeply disturbing event.
I might incline toward the second view if this were the first shooting of this kind, but at this point, the mass public shooting is a well-established trope in American life. Repeated exposure tends to move one from grief to outrage more quickly. One has an increasing sense that one is responsible for what one sees. For me, then, calls to prayer seem incomplete when not accompanied–or followed in short order–by calls to other sorts of action. That s may say more about me than it does about the situation, but there it is.
I am wondering what others think. Is this a time that should be strictly devoted to mourning, prayer and giving comfort, or is it also permissible to acknowledge the political dimension of these shootings, and to urge action against the root causes?