But, What Can I Do?
Yesterday we experienced another horrific school shooting in Parkland, Fla. As of today, 17 fatalities, adding to the list of more than 1,800 deaths from 1,600 mass shootings in the United States since 2012. As has been the case with shootings like this in recent years, social media has lit up with debates about gun control, the role of government, the declining value of life in our current society, and a host of other comments that express the sadness, frustration, and anger about senseless killing.
Violence on this scale can be overwhelming. “I am but one person, what can I do, where would I start?” There are a number of things each of us can do, should do, must do.
First, we pray. As I watched the news coverage and saw the abundance of people saying, “I don’t want ‘thoughts and prayers,’ I want action,” I was struck by the misguided concept that we can’t do both. We pray because we know God hears us. We pray because we know only He can provide the healing balm that will fill the painful hole left by the death of a loved one. We pray because we recognize we need the help only He can give.
But then, we must take action. Declare that escalating violence is unacceptable. While it has an immediate victim, it robs us all. I think about these 17 young people and what they might have been in the world. What would they have contributed to their respective communities? What kind of parent? Or neighbor? Would they have become teachers, innovators, leaders? Make no mistake, we ALL lost something yesterday. To be sure, their family and friends absorb the searing pain of loss like no other, but we bear the impact, too.
Right now, today, there is an opportunity in your community to help address the issue of violence. By considering our own words and actions; to be willing to step in and resolve a conflict; to risk stepping out of our comfort zone to encourage another to speak and act with love.
With one exception, no one that changed the world started out with that as the objective. But we must be in relationship with others if we hope to change the narrative. We have the ability to turn this around. We are not short of resources. What we need is the WILL to do it.
Join with me today, to make a difference with one person in bringing awareness and action in the reduction of violence. Start now.
To learn more about what We Raise Foundation is doing to reduce violence in communities, visit weraise.org.
Paul C. Miles