Well-Being of the City
Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you;
pray for it to the Lord,
for in seeking its well-being you shall find your own.
Linda and I participated in a solidarity march following the Paris massacre. It was sponsored by Alliance Francois, the local French-American community. Outside their building hangs two flags, one American and the other French. On the march down Hennepin Avenue to The Basilica of Saint Mary and at the gathering, one heard the French National Anthem and shouts of Je Suis Paris (I Am Paris). Inside the basilica we celebrated the "Solemn Vespers for Peace and Justice." The text from Jeremiah was the foundation.
The occasion was precipitated by the violence done by guns. Yes, we can and should address the issue of terrorism by studying the "whys" and origins of Daesh, Al Quaeda, Boko Haram and many other terrorist groups. As in America we should and are engaging reasons for our own terrorist reality. As of this date there have been approximately 250 mass shootings this year alone. Each year in the United States we suffer over 12,000 homicides of which many are mass shootings. I call this American Terrorism. There would be no AT without guns. So, in the conversation about what to do about our reality, it is also necessary to talk about gun violence prevention.
Let us begin by addressing the issue of how to keep guns out of the hands of potential terrorists. One of the most urgent needs is to prevent those on the FBI's Terrorist Watch List from purchasing guns. Common sense, right? Presently, the FBI is watching about 420,000 people, of which 2,043 are on the TWL. However, and as an affront to common sense, the NRA and other gun rights groups are opposing a bill introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein of California which would begin to address this gap in our security.
Senator Feinstein's bill was introduced in February 2015. It prevents Federally licensed gun dealers from selling firearms to those on the TWL. The legislation would not, however, prevent private sellers or online sale of weapons to them. Call this the gun show loop hole. Says Jennifer Baker, spokeswoman of the NRA, the NRA opposes this bill, "pointing to past instances where innocent people were added to the TWL either in error or as the result of tenuous ties to others involved in suspicious activities" (Huffingtonpost). She says:
It is appalling that the anti-gun politicians are
exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push
their gun control agenda and distract from
President Obama's failed foreign policy.
I call this obfuscation and distraction. The immediate issue is the safety of the American people. One needs to suspend belief to believe that we are protecting our people by allowing those on the TWL to purchase guns! As to some who believe it makes sense for the House of Representatives to vote to put a "pause" on accepting Syrian refugees who are fleeing for their lives, wouldn't it be prudent to also act to keep guns out of the possession of possible terrorists? This is a no brainer! Yet, our elected leaders and leaders of the leaders refuse to bring the bill to a vote.
I would guess that nearly all of our elected leaders are or profess to be members of Christian churches. Perhaps they have heard the verse from Jeremiah in a sermon or at least read as one of the prescribed texts. I think the text provides the Biblical foundation for faithful action within the scope of our Constitution to pass this law for the protection of our citizens and members of our congregations. I would urge all people to write your elected leaders and urge them to support the passage of this bill "for the sake of the well-being of the city."