Three nine-year-old children were murdered in their classroom on Monday morning.
Three nine-year-old children.
Their beautiful faces captured our imagination through tragedy. Theirs are one more in a litany of kids who have died senselessly on the altar of our national refusal to imagine and work towards structural changes that would protect them.
The gravity of that truth has pressed on my heart this week. I happen to know children who were in that building and families whose loved ones died in the attack, and so this school shooting has weighed on me even more than the other horrors in recent memory.
But I am like many others who often shut out the news of little ones who have needed to hide and run, little ones who have seen wreckage they never should have to see and heard screams they never should have to hear.
The reason to face this brutal, horrific reality, the reason to pay attention to this pain, is to ensure that it does not keep happening.
Yes, we should pray for change. Yes, we need better mental health care. Yes, there is a spiritual crisis of meaning and purpose that we need to address. Yes, schools can (and should, and do) enact measures to protect their students. And yes, most of all and first and foremost, we MUST take every action possible to change legislation and reduce the number of guns on the streets, restrict ownership of guns for people with mental illness, and restrict access to semi-automatic assault weapons.
For this type of structural change to happen, we must employ our spiritual imaginations. We must have the courage to hope. We acknowledge the horror and pain, but we also envision a real future in which our kids do not flee in terror. From there—from that place of possibility—we begin the work of local, state, and federal legislation and programming that will change the landscape of senseless violence.
Change begins not with a sense of helplessness or hopelessness but with faith in and action toward the possibility of a different future.
More with Amy Julia:
- Another School Shooting: Is There Light in the Darkness?
- How Can We Respond to All the Injustice and Suffering?
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