Peace – At What Price?

Peace – At What Price?

Peace – At What Price?

By Siegrid Raible

Recently I attended a Requiem Mass for the victims of the Orlando, Florida massacre.  As part of the litany, the call by the church’s leader, “into your hands, O Lord, we commend our brothers and sisters” was met with the response from the congregants “may angels surround them, and saints welcome them in peace.”  I was struck by the response and began to wonder what price are we willing to pay for eternal peace?

In Orlando like Charleston and Newton before it, the eternal peace bought by gun violence is too great a price to pay.  In Orlando, beginning with Friday evening, July 10th, and ending in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 12th, within a span of thirty hours in two separate incidences fifty mostly young people were murdered by two disturbed young twenty-something fellow citizens.  We can pray for the souls of the dead but if we want to honor their lives, we must build a more peaceful and less violent world.  In a less violent world we would not find mass murder and violence an acceptable condition of life.  We would acknowledge each individual’s right to a life free from violence; we would acknowledge the intrinsic value of each life.

"Hope Springs Eternal" by Luis Sierra

“Hope Springs Eternal” by Luis Sierra

If we truly valued life, we would invest in and celebrate life; we would do all in our power to end the cycle of gun violence that we encounter all too often; acts of violence that are robbing us of the company of loved ones, some as young as seven years old.  We have campaigns to end deadly diseases like cancer.  I would argue that we need a campaign to end the deadly disease of gun violence. Why can’t we agree that forty-nine deaths resulting from the use of military style assault rifles are forty-nine deaths too many?  Why can’t we agree that the two individuals who took those fifty lives for reasons known only to them were in need of scarce mental health services?  If we can mount campaigns to eradicate cancer, why can’t we mount a campaign to eradicate gun violence?

Let us celebrate life instead of mourning its untimely loss.  Let us put an end to the deadly disease of gun violence.  Let us build a less violent and more peace-filled world.

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