Listen to this week’s Devotional here.
Author: Larry Dansky
I wrote this meditation more than a year ago, on the day after the mass shooting
at the King Soopers in south Boulder. I did not intend to submit it; I write
meditations because it helps me in processing my thoughts when I am struggling
with an issue. But senseless gun violence has continued to escalate and has
become a significant public health concern throughout the country. There is a
time for contemplation, and a time for action, and I’m submitting it now as a call
to action for those who are interested.
I went grocery shopping this morning as I do often on Tuesday mornings. Sadly,
this is not like every other Tuesday. It is the day after the horrific mass shooting
at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder. I shop at the local King Soopers in
Lafayette, but I had to sit in the car in the parking lot and take deep breaths
before I could proceed into the store. I was remembering those people who were
at the store in Boulder just there to get their groceries, as they have done so
many times before. Nothing different than usual, until it was different. As I
entered the store, there were two security guards at the entrance, and again I
had to stop and breathe. Security guards so I could shop safely! This past year
my biggest concern with grocery shopping was the possibility of catching Covid.
Before that my only concern was whether they would have my favorite cereal
available on the shelf.
I participate in a compassion meditation group out of Portland, Oregon. I told the
group last week how overwhelmingly sad I felt after the shootings in Atlanta that
left eight dead. I was having difficulty sitting with my anger and sadness. Little
did I know that one week later I would be feeling this again, this time grieving for
members of my own local community. When we hear about mass shootings
around the country, no one thinks that such an event could happen in their town.
“This is such a peaceful community; my neighborhood always feels safe.” Many
of us felt this way about Boulder County.
How can we let this become normal? What will it take to make the changes we
need to in order to move beyond all of the gun violence? I became very
discouraged after the Sandy Hook shooting; if the murder of young elementary
school children didn’t change minds, what would? I became more discouraged
after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Even with those brave
young adults leading marches that many of us participated in, nothing happened.
Now we have Atlanta and Boulder.
I plan to sit with my grief and sadness today. Tomorrow I will start to look for any
opportunity to act. I pray that we can find a way for our society to come together
and seek solutions to end this senseless violence.
Since writing this devotional, I have found purpose in working with members of
our church in forming a Gun Violence Prevention Ministry. We work with Colorado
Faith Communities United Against Gun Violence to educate our community and
advocate on the state level for legislative gun violence prevention measures
(expanded background checks, safe storage of guns, raising age limits to buy guns,
red flag laws, etc.) There is obviously much more work to be done, as evidenced
by recent mass shootings in the country (Buffalo, Uvalde), the rising rate of suicide
by gun in Colorado, and growing street violence in Denver and other communities.
Our work won’t put an end to gun violence, but we are hopeful that we can have
an influence in our community to minimize this senseless loss of lives. If you are
interested in joining our ministry, please contact Carol Young
Holy one, our community, our state, and our nation grieves the loss we suffer with
each mass shooting. Give us the strength and the collective wisdom to continue to
seek solutions to our epidemic of gun violence. Amen.