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Statement on 295th Mass-Shooting in the U.S. This Year
The World Methodist Council notes with sadness and regret the fatal mass-shooting which occurred at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, USA, on October 1, killing 10 and injuring seven. Echoing the words of U.S. President Barack Obama, we are frustrated by how “routine” these shootings have become. According to the crowd-sourced ShootingTracker.com, this is the 295th mass-shooting in the United States this year (the site reports another mass-shooting occurred the same day in Florida), and the 45th shooting to have taken place at a school according to Everytown for Gun Safety website.
General Secretary Ivan Abrahams responded to the news by saying “I grieve with the families of those who have lost their loved ones in yet another senseless slaying at the hands of a gunman. It is unconscionable that there have been 45 shootings at schools in the U.S. alone and yet the government and media seem to be ambivalent.” Bishop Grant Hagiya who oversees the Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church stated, “My heart aches, and my prayers go out to all of those who were killed or injured. Let us call upon the power of God to heal and comfort during this challenging time.”
The World Methodist Council has historically stood for measures to curb gun violence including a resolution passed in 2009 calling for governments around the world to commit to global human security for nuclear and small arms and light weapons disarmament, through negotiations of treaties, international conventions and national public policies. In 2013, a resolution was passed to urge member churches to support and encourage organizations work to promote peace and dialogue and to divest from any holdings involved in the arms trade. Just last month, the Social and International Affairs Committee chair called for an end to gun violence in the First Friday Newsletter.
Yet more still needs to be done, not just in the United States, but around the world. Gun violence is an epidemic that must be cured. Action must be taken, and it can begin at the grassroots level. Contact your local government representative to share with them the statistics which have been compiled by independent news agencies and organization and challenge them to work toward reducing the number of deaths by gun violence.
The United Methodist Church has published resources online that may help you and your church to respond to this and other violent tragedies: http://www.umc.org/topics/topic-responding-to-violence.