by Rev. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
As we grieve for the dead and injured in last week’s movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, and join with others to demand handgun reform, we are reminded once again of a greater, more fundamental change that needs to take place among all of us. This horrific violence, and the daily violence we read about, summons us to make a fundamental turn from violence to nonviolence. Every one of us, and every sector of society, needs to make that turn. Without our conversion to nonviolence, we will be forever stuck in the ancient mindlessness and downward spiral of violence. But we need not be stuck. We can choose to be nonviolent people.
Yes, we have to ban handguns and AK-47s. And we need to abolish war, executions, drones, Trident Submarines, extrajudicial assassination, state-sanctioned violence and nuclear weapons. We have a president who starts his day sending his kids off to school and deciding calmly over coffee whom to assassinate. We send drones over Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan which terrorize children and kill them like in some nightmarish “Dark Night” horror film. We execute people legally. And in Los Alamos, New Mexico, we continue to build nuclear weapons as if that was a normal thing to do. We hold the world hostage with our nuclear terrorism.
Everywhere we turn we hear of more violence. We feel it in ourselves as if we’ve been infected by some kind of plague. For the many young people who are not loved, not taught to be nonviolent, not given any hope or meaning in life, not invited to join the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace, the nihilism and insanity of further violence can feel like a natural progression. “Everyone is violent, so I’ll be violent, too,” many think. They are not taught how to live nonviolently…