I have little doubt that the devastating brutality of the shootings in Newtown continue to linger and haunt us all. Even those of us who some time ago realized that God's world contained beauty and devastation, life and death, guns and butter, angels as well as demons find it hard to come to grips with the loss that has affected our nearby neighbors.
But we know God has no hands but ours. God has found devoted teachers, inspired principals and precious children to do the work. God provides nobility of the soul and spirit and allows and encourages our faith to pull us and others through.
Communities that heal best are the ones where neighbors care -- where people grieve, hold hands, linger with hugs, light candles and grow towards each other. May the people in Newtown, may our community continue to be an example of this to the world.
After we grieve, we get angry and say enough is enough. Gun idolatry is pervasive in our land. When do we begin to change that culture? Other countries have deranged and disaffected folks who become unhinged, but only in America does the proliferation of guns enable that to translate to mass killings. The Supreme Court says the second amendment allows individual gun ownership. But regulating that right is okay too. Three hundred million guns are out there in this country, and the gun lobby wants us to buy more that are bigger and more lethal.
Guns in a home are overwhelmingly more likely to be used to hurt someone in the home or community than an intruder.
I have been pleased to be part of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, which for 25 years has worked for common-sense gun regulations. A re-invigorated push is underway in the Connecticut legislature to add to the assault weapon ban already in place a restriction on high-capacity ammunition clips. Passing such legislation won't prevent gun violence, but it is a piece of the puzzle. The state has some good gun legislation on the books, but more needs to be done.
A number of community members attended a large meeting in Westport to discuss gun violence. Among other action is a march being planned in Hartford on March 14 -- the three-month anniversary of the Newtown shootings.
On a federal level, maybe the tipping point has been reached and our president and Congress will finally move forward some gun regulation -- an assault weapon ban, closing a gun show loophole that enables people to purchase guns without background checks, taxing ammunition -- the list goes on. To do nothing is to be complicit. Check out www.demandaplan.org. Let your voice be heard.
Rabbi Jim Prosnit
Congregation Bnai Israel