FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2017
Another Shooting! We are stunned and devastated in the wake of another mass slaughter. Even as the details continue to emerge, we are heartsick that the sanctity of worship shattered by gunfire that took the lives of 26 young and old people, and forever changed the lives of everyone else at First Baptist Church … and the entire Sutherland Springs, Texas community. The New Jersey Interfaith Coalition and Muslims4Peace is a collaborative of deeply faithful people from all traditions of the religious world. We share the same God and the same nightmare as we ache for these families. We pray for the victims and ask God to grant patience to the surviving families to bear the unbearable loss of their loved ones.
We know that we have to do more than ache and pray. We have to acknowledge that this is only one in a string of gun related nightmares that have left a trail of blood across America. Even while the President can dismiss this act as a result of mental illness, we argue that anyone who commits such a crime suffers from mental illness. We, as a society, have an obligation not to allow access to the tools of destruction, the guns that so easily take so many lives. It may or may not have been the gun of another citizen that ended this spree, but if these weapons had not been available at all, no trigger could have been pulled.
This act of terrorism is homegrown, as have been most recent acts of violence. Within just a month of each other, two massive gun based massacres shook us to the core, and yet, the semi-automatic weapons and modifications are still legal and still open for sale … to anyone. We cannot tolerate this pattern of loss or the laxity that those in power allow for, as they sit, unwilling to do anything to make us safe. We say to our government, it is time to become responsible to and for our well being. We call on every citizen to call, write and visit with his/her Senator/Congressperson or other relevant government official to make them pay attention and muster the courage to toughen the gun laws that now allow easy access to military style automatic weapons.
It is also time to hold the VA accountable. Twenty two veterans commit suicide/homicide in this country each day, as they return from war emotionally scarred and then dismissed from care. It is time for better healthcare.
May God’s presence fill the lives of the so many afflicted in the wake of this massacre and may we find ways to hold each other and bring peace.