As President Barack Obama seeks support for his sweeping gun control reforms, and states enact their own legislation -- including the nation's toughest in New York -- a faith-based coalition is promoting a national Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath.
Of the many critical insights I gained by studying the writings of the late theologian and philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel, one that had a particularly profound impact on me related to the challenge of talking about God.
As soon as I heard the news about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, I immediately thought to myself in horror “What if one of my kids had been a victim?” I also knew as soon as I thought it that there would have been absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent it had either or both of my 11-year old twins been in the worst possible place at the worst possible time.
But my next thought was even more upsetting: “What if one of my kids had been the shooter?”
No matter how one chooses to parse the still sketchy details, the recent death by gunfire of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida is a great tragedy. A young life was violently taken because of an all-too-easily arrived at suspicion based on stereotype. See a black teen wearing a “hoodie” in a white, gated community and, as the shooter George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer, himself said to police, one must assume that he’s “up to no good.”