The ancient Latin word “adsum” means “Here I am: for this particular time, this special challenge in history.” Perhaps this is our moment, to challenge the gun control lobby which defies the will of the American people. Currently, only two nations (U.S. and Yemen) consider gun possession a citizen’s basic right rather than a privilege. Some states are moving cautiously to change that.
In proposed gun control legislation, no provision impacts hunters. Indeed, Tom Teves whose 24-year old son was killed in Aurora says, “If you can’t shoot a deer with one bullet and kill it, then you’re not a sportsman.” No hunter uses the kinds of weapons nor large magazines that have caused such devastation.
Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” shows how public opinion gradually changed, and the time became ripe for outlawing slavery. The 13th amendment was not passed without intense controversy, but the churches played a role then as they did during the civil rights movement. Each time the national conscience is shaken, Catholic communities could provide effective leadership in a gun control movement. Could we offer anything less to the grieving families of Aurora, Newtown, San Bernardino and too many other tragic sites?
If we still have any doubts, let’s listen directly to their voices:
When the bullets began to fly at an Aurora movie theater, Alex Teves, who had just received his master’s degree in counseling wrapped his arms around his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren. He died but saved her life; she writes him daily in her journal. Caren Teves, his mother, listened to Obama urging parents to hold their children tighter the night of the Sandy Hook shooting. “My child is not here to hug,” she said.
“We can’t go back to school,” one little boy told Gene Rosen who found six children on his Newtown driveway. “Our teacher is dead. Mrs. Soto; we don’t have a teacher.”
“You go to a movie theater in Aurora and all of a sudden your life is taken,” Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis said. “You’re at a shopping mall in Portland, Ore., and your life is taken… It has to stop, these senseless deaths.”