Who are we as a nation if we cannot protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death, or our future?

Cardinal Blase Cupich

We sacralize death’s instruments, and then we’re surprised when death uses them. A space designed for learning has again become a killing field. Uvalde, Texas, a community that will never be what it was.

Grief, trauma, heartbreak — burdens carried forever by survivors and family — the candle of vivid memory, never to be extinguished.

It fights to help silence the familiar song of “Thoughts and Prayers,” played after Buffalo, Sacramento, San Jose, Colorado Springs, and Indianapolis, Rock Hill, Boulder, and on and on. Uvalde will be followed by some peaceful community somewhere, waiting … waiting to have its lives torn apart, never to be healed. Gone forever will be those happy sounds of squeaking laughter.

We feel helpless; we feel hopeless. Nineteen happy children massacred; Nineteen little angels slaughtered; And two brave and selfless teachers. Children remembered always for their innocence and beauty.

Yet, yet, and yet, we know how the comments flow with “Thoughts and Prayers” aplenty from the NRA and others “Not Responsible,” as they lobby Congress with steady  pressure. 

Passage of sensible gun-control laws will again be judged out of reach, too radical or inimical to our exceptional, untouchable American ideal of Liberty.

If only somebody would take the country by its shoulders and scream the screams of a mother or father or grandparent, now, looking at years of deep, dark, unyielding pain, with always an open spot at the kitchen table.

We need someone of unquestioned moral authority to speak out and insist: No more! Not again! This time we must do something! Now!

We are better than to send our children our children off to school every day, knowing we may never see them alive again because they were annihilated by someone who just walked in with an assault weapon.

Yes, a voice of moral authority. You won’t find it in the statement the Conference of Catholic Bishops released. Three short sentences and no episcopal signature. Nothing on the need for gun control measures, or any specific call for Congress to do … well … anything.

If the Church had long criticized both parties equally, and supported them equally, people would not consider it political when the Church sought to defend and promote human life and dignity. 

We are sick of “guns aren’t the problem.” What we are also sick of hearing always is the same song, with a new verse, but always one where more of our children are butchered, and no one in authority does anything.

How long must this Song of Death go on?

Source: Idea from NCR, 5/26/22.
Tom Lynch is a resident of Oak Park.

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