Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace and nonviolence movement, joins with the thousands of individuals and groups who have raised their voice over the mass shooting events of the past ten days.
These mass shooting tragedies are not the new normal, but they are the expected consequences of the continued and growing rhetoric of hatred, fear, bigotry, racism, and intolerance voiced consistently from the White House.
The name calling, the demonizing of our cities and their citizens for the systemic and racial inequalities that exist there, along with the subtle and not so subtle violent chants are having an effect that breeds contempt for and violence towards brown and black immigrant and refugee communities and towards anyone else who disagrees with the tone and policies of the Trump administration. Furthermore, blaming violent mass shootings on mental illness is a pathetic attempt to victimize yet another group of people. It is also a cop-out for implementing common-sense gun legislation, background checks, and eliminating access to weapons of war.
The lack of sensible gun control, the promotion of the National Rifle Association’s values over a respect for people’s lives, the hate-filled rhetoric, and the implicit and explicit support of White Nationalism are violent factors contributing to the 249 mass shootings that have taken place in the United States in 2019 alone. The violence will only continue to grow until we address these core issues.
Praying for a change of heart and direction for our country is important but ACTION is needed, too. We know that silence means complicity and consent, and people who care about ending hate-filled rhetoric and gun violence can no longer remain silent by-standers. Enough is enough.
Pax Christi USA invites every individual and organization who believes in the values of being welcoming, open, and accepting and who understand the profound truth that we are our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers must make their voices heard.
“Peace with justice” is not a catchy phrase. It is a dream rooted in the Gospel. It is at the heart of what is best about our U.S. democracy. It is the desire of every person who believes that instilling fear, violence, and hatred is never the answer.