I am deeply disturbed by the epidemic of gun violence we face in our nation. From the Orlando nightclub shooting to the El Paso and Dayton shootings, to the many individual acts of violence or ‘accidental’ shootings, far too many lives have been and continue to be lost and devastated everyday.

I was taught, since I was an infant, to act from a place of love and empathy. Being a continuously armed nation assumes we are prepared to wound one another, even as studies show that when we are armed we actually put our own loved ones at risk. If we are living out our call to be peaceful people, we can no longer sit on our banalities, but we must act on what we believe in. The hate-filled rhetoric from the White House foments not only hate crimes like that which occurred in El Paso, but the under-the-radar poisoning of America playing out in schools and on playgrounds and in communities across the country.

I’m uneasy that in the wake of these terrible tragedies and losses our communities face everyday to domestic terrorism, we still haven’t moved forward as a democracy on common sense gun laws. White nationalist terrorism and its violent, politically motivated variants -- embracing racism, antisemitism, and anti-immigration sentiments -- have existed in the United States for decades.

I urge our nation’s leaders to consider with an open heart how we can reject this culture of gun violence and become a nation that is secure and tranquil.

Kierra Barr


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