Signs From The Times
From Bishop Doug Fisher, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
“Stop the Violence. We have kids here. Think before you shoot.” Those words are on a handmade sign on the front door of a home in Springfield, Massachusetts.
A few days after I saw that sign, I went to the island of Iona in Scotland for a retreat and saw a different sign. 1500 years ago St Columba founded a monastery at Iona. The monastery that is there now dates back to 1300 and was re-established in the 1930’s as an ecumenical place of prayer centering on social justice. The sign hung on a cross with these words: “We remember all victims of violence in the world and those who stand with them.”
Another sign of the times (in the New York Times): “F.B.I. Confirms a Sharp Rise in Mass Shootings Since 2000.” The article, published on September 24, tells us there were 6.4 such shootings per year from 2000 to 2006. From 2007 to 2013, there were 16.4 mass shootings per year.
The signs of the times are clear. Whether it is drive by shootings in Springfield, mass shootings on the rise, or the now 32,000 people that die every year by gun violence in the United States, we are in the midst of a crisis – a public health crisis.