Our burden

Chapel of the Snows - McMurdo

It happened again during church last Sunday.

Nothing unusual, though the thoughts were more raw than normal because of the Valentine’s Day killings of 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school. Of course, it was only three months ago 26 people were killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

So, yeah, I once again found my mind wandering, considering what I would do if someone came through the back door of our little church and started shooting.

No, that had nothing to do with the sermon. (Although, as the pastor said, “Jesus was all about action.” I could feel our minister almost say, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”)

Like I said, these worrisome wanderings are nothing new. Best I remember, they first happened following the 1980 church shootings in Daingerfield, Texas. Five people, ages 7-78 died in that assault.

The past few years, I have at times been in schools judging academic competitions. Yes, thoughts about a shooter have crossed my mind. I brought up the subject with my wife, who doesn’t normally worry about such things, but she informed me she, too, had harbored such feelings.

Now … consider this.

How bothered must students be these days?

They are part of the post-Columbine era with active shooter drills, metal detectors, and police on campus.

They are not allowed to feel safe.

Not even in a rural school. In 2006, five girls were killed by a shooter in an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the community of Nickel Mines, Pa.

Not even in an elementary school. In 2012, a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

Not even in a university setting. In 2007, at Virginia Tech, a gunman killed 32 students and faculty members and injured 17 more.

Not even in a monastery. In 2002, two monks were killed and two more injured in Conception, Mo.

It’s painfully obvious there is no solution to this. It will continue. It might well worsen.

Because we can do nothing to stop it.

Everything we’ve tried has failed.

The only solution that has worked elsewhere in the world won’t work here.

Because we won’t even consider it.

Our guns are more important to us than people’s lives.

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