We are outraged.
We are outraged that:
- On January 21, during a Lunar New Year celebration, one of the most joyous nights of the year, a night filled with hope for the future, a man entered a dance hall in Monterey Park, CA with an assault-style weapon, killing 11 people and injuring 10 more.
- On January 23, a man shot and killed seven Latino and Asian farm workers in Half Moon Bay, CA. Several of the victims were shot in front of their own children.
- On January 23, one person is dead, and seven others injured during a shooting at a gas station in Oakland, CA.
- A six-year-old child has access to a gun, knows how to use a gun, takes a gun to school in his backpack, and uses it to shoot his teacher in the chest.
- When a 23-year-old mother refused a man’s flirtation, his response was to shoot and kill her.
We are outraged that:
- Firing a gun is an all-too-common response in resolving conflicts when there are so many non-violent options.
- The gun industry and gun lobby continue to exploit the individual and community fear and work to put more guns in more hands.
- The immediate concerns and grief following a loss of life has not resulted in substantive reform- and assault-style weapons remain accessible.
The Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay shootings in California have caused a deep wound in the Asian American community, a community already traumatized by the unprecedented level of hate crimes heightened during the racialization of the COVID pandemic. Our hearts ache for those of Asian descent, and we stand with them against all the forms of violence disrupting their sense of peace, safety, and community.
There is nothing normal about the levels of gun violence we are seeing, and we refuse to become desensitized to this violence and the toll of human life gun violence continues to cost the American people. Scripture reminds us that every single human being is created in the image of God; every gun death is not a statistic but a loss of a life full of dignity, worth, and promise. The frequency of mass shootings is occurring at a pace that robs us of time and space to grieve and heal. And yet even as we as people of faith add our prayers and lamentations to so many others, we cannot continue to simply react, pray, and repeat this cycle of death.
Only 23 days into this new year and the United States had already experienced 39 mass shootings. We are not safe at work, our children are not safe in school, we are not safe at stores, we are not safe at celebrations.
It is time for us as a community of faith to unequivocally commit to ending gun violence.
The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas say this must stop NOW.