That One Super Bowl Ad

It’s the morning after the Super Bowl and as usual everyone’s talking about the half time show (faux outrage!) and the ads (Groundhog day was my favorite). But as usual, they’re not talking about the ad that I want to talk about.

I want to talk about Mike Bloomberg’s ad. Not about Mike Bloomberg specifically; I don’t have much to say about a Bloomberg candidacy. Except to say that I’m not sure that we need yet another old white man with so much money that he can simply write checks and bypass the entire nominating process. But that’s not why Mike’s ad is on my mind.

Continue reading “That One Super Bowl Ad”

Churches Send Mixed Message About Love and Peace

Last weekend, like so many other people in so many cities and towns across the country, I attended a vigil to remember the murdered victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and to add my voice to the other voices raised against hate and bigotry. The program was filled with more than twenty speakers: leaders from different faiths from all over our region stood to offer support and share their thoughts on the tragic event: leaders of the Muslim faith, Jewish faith, and Catholics, and Christians of many different denominations. They shared stories. They read from scripture. They asked us to pray for the victims and their families. And they asked us to pray for healing and for peace.

And as I sat and listened to them speak, I honestly found no solace in their words. I heard no hope. Reverend Steve from the Episcopal Church told us that he (of course) prays every day. In the last few years, he said, he has added “Please let there be no mass shooting today” to his daily litany of prayer. “Most days, God answers my prayers” he said. “But not every day.”

Continue reading “Churches Send Mixed Message About Love and Peace”

A Note on Guns In Our Politics

In the wake of another mass shooting in America, the same arguments are being trotted out on both sides of the gun debate. Gun rights advocates are using the scare tactic that people who are in favor of limits on gun ownership ultimately want to repeal the Second Amendment.

Without the Sacred Second, they say, you’d have absolutely no right to own a weapon for hunting or for self-protection, and so, if you like to hunt or want to own a handgun for your own peace of mind, you must oppose any attempt at gun regulation.

When other countries are cited as examples of ways we could curtail the number of guns in this country, gun rights defenders tell us that those countries don’t have a constitution like we do, and more relevantly, they don’t have the Second Amendment.  And so, it’s concluded, because of our unique legal constraints there’s really nothing we can do about guns in the US.

But we’ve had the Second Amendment since the beginning of our country’s history, and we’ve only had a serious problem with gun violence since about 1980. Coincidentally, that happens to be about the same time as the National Rifle Association began to have major influence on our political process. Do you think the two things are related? Continue reading “A Note on Guns In Our Politics”

Is It Still Too Soon to Talk About Guns?

It’s now been 2 weeks since 58 people were shot and killed in Las Vegas. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it still too soon?

It’s been 16 months since 49 people were shot and killed at the Pulse night club in Orlando. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been 23 months since 14 people were shot and killed in San Bernadino. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been 2½ years since 9 people were shot and killed in a church in Charleston. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been over 3 years since 6 people were shot and killed near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been 3½ years since 3 people were shot and killed at Ford Hood, Texas. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been 4 years since 12 people were shot and killed at the Washington Naval Yard. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been 5 years since 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been over 5 years since 12 people were shot and killed at the Aurora movie theater. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been almost 7 years since Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot and 6 people were killed in Tucson, Arizona. Can we talk about gun violence now, or is it STILL TOO SOON?

It’s been 18 years since 12 students and 1 teacher were shot and killed at Columbine High School. CAN WE TALK ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE NOW, OR IS IT STILL TOO SOON?

America, we have a problem with gun violence. And it’s time to TALK ABOUT IT. NOW.