One of the perks of growing up on a fishing resort was having a swimming spot just down the bank from our house. There was a sandy beach and on hot summer days, I and my siblings often had a chance to cool off in the water. During the lean years on the resort my dad started raising hogs for extra income. The catch was, the pigs were right next to the swimming area. Only a fence going out in the water, separated the swimming pigs from the human swimmers.
My dad was loath to admit, that just possibly our customers might be on to something, when they complained about swimming next to the pigs. He always pointed out that the water current came from across the lake, and if there a problem with the water, it was not his pigs. “No, the problem was in the cattle grazing on the other side,” he would say.
Having invested in his pigs, my dad was not about to change his mind. From spring through fall our pigs dined on fish heads which accumulated in the fish cleaning house. But what was good for raising pigs and getting rid of fish heads, was not so great in attracting swimmers to the beach.
We are averaging a mass shooting every other week in the United States. Each time politicians take their previous positions. The NRA makes its demands and another hopeful moment of possibility is gone. El Paso, Dayton, Virginia Beach, Odessa and Midland, Mobile, Gliroy . . . names that spill off our tongues. We add their names to the other tragedies, Las Vegas, Orlando, Virginia Tech, Sutherland Springs, Sandy Hook and Parkland.
We continue to swim next to the pigs, when all the evidence tells us not to. We are not helpless. We can respond in ways that make the next shooting less likely. We can demand from our reluctant leadership action on gun laws. We can demand an end to assault rifles and high capacity magazines. We can demand red flag background checks. We can, through our votes, elect people who will act on gun violence and do more than send empty thoughts and prayers.
What is needed at this moment are people who work together, across the aisle to pass sensible gun control laws. What is needed are people who look beyond their previous convictions and ask themselves, if it is possible they might be wrong and is it possible there are solutions beyond their politics?
What is needed is, a commitment to replace fatalism with action, false promises with integrity and to turn thoughts and prayers into legislation.
I will sing of loyalty and of justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing.
I will study the way that is blameless . . .
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house.” Psalm 101:1-2