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Could it be the American Spring?

     That's my question of the day.  Could this be the season of the American Spring? 

     The "Arab Spring" has brought successful toppling of dictators and greater freedom for millions in the Middle East.   While political and military developments have not been without turmoil and the final result is still much in the making, it's obvious a pent-up desire for freedom from dictators recently unleashed momentous change in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere.  Surprising results have produced previously unthinkable freedom of speech, popular elections, and genuine hope for a better future.

     Here in the United States, I sense a similar unleashing of hope born of repressed despair following recent gun massacres in shopping malls, movie theaters, college campuses and  classrooms.  We read the newspaper differently now when learning about domestic violence which is all too simple to accomplish when vast stores of weapons are tucked into closets and cupboards of normal households.  We are discussing types of guns and rifles and bullet capacities in ways which reveal significant distinctions and necessary judgments.   

     Suddenly the news of gun violence in its many forms is 'sticking' again.  We are noticing patterns to which we have long turned a blind eye.  The president has proposed overturning a rule which had prohibited the Centers for Disease Control from studying the effects of gun violence.   How could a law like that even get passed?  I believe today it would not pass.  Its cancelation will provide helpful, horrifying, difficult and necessary information.

     Now we are beginning to fit pieces of reality together into an uncomfortable portrait of our society. This is painful but it is essential.  Ultimately it is a sign of hope.  

     Are we finally able to claim responsibility for what our culture has become?  Are we ready to stop capitulating to economic and political bullying by the gun lobby?  Can we affirm both a constitutional right to gun ownership and the necessity for laws against placing weapons of war (too often silently and secretly) into the hands of perpetrators of monstrosities?    Yes. We can do this now.

     I hope the American Spring will summon from rank and file Americans a similar courage,     yearning for change, and hope for the future which drove much of the Arab Spring.   As with the people of the Middle East, it won't be a simple process or a straight line to fulfillment of all our goals.  But it is a sign of hope that we are gathering in various locales, media outlets and community settings to discuss the problem of gun violence in our cities, towns, media and families.

     If you would like to join people from our church who are involved in this conversation, I invite you to gather for this purpose Sunday, February 10, 12:15 in Mayflower Room.     It will be a safe place to examine our American epidemic of violence.  It will be an opportunity respectfully to strategize ways of stemming its tide. 



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