By Mark Stoub
Watching our Catahoula-mix puppy, Goldie, run is a joy to behold. Sometimes we let her loose just for the sheer joy she gets from running as well as our joy in watching her. She stays pretty much in the yard so there is little danger in her getting loose. One day we did that and regretted the decision. She tried to get out of the front gate, but was going too fast, and caught her side on the latch that stuck out on that ancient gate; she ripped a six inch hole in her side. Luckily, it didn’t involve any vital organs, but the vets at the Kyle Animal Hospital – a fine place full of hard-working compassionate people – say that it will be weeks before she will totally heal. In the meantime she has an open wound that we doctor and clean every day.
I was thinking about that as I listened to the horrible news about the worst mass shooting in American history. Fifty people died for no good reason, and again the nation mourns a craven act of wanton violence. In a collective cry of pain and rage the whole nation ought to ask, “When will the violence stop?” How can the richest, most powerful and freest country on the face of the earth survive in the face of this painful reality?
When will the political will to do something about sensible limits on purchases of guns be put into place by elected officials too afraid to rock the boat of donor support? We continue to look the other way, hoping that the pain and the hard choices will go away and we can return to the way things used to be. We have passed that point long ago.
The open wounds of the family members who have survived their loved ones’ violent death will never heal until and unless real, substantive and lasting change comes about. We are all outraged now, we all pray for the families of those who were lost, but that is not enough. That is never enough. And that is why all the other mass-murders in the blood-stained annuls of our nation’s history will never heal.
I’m not smart enough to know how to fix this. I do know the last time something like this happened Congress got to the precipice of real change, but then there was an incredible, collective failure of nerve. The families of those who are left to pick up the pieces of their lives want to know; the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day want to know; and the nation that holds itself to the high standard of “liberty and justice for all,” wants to know: when will this senseless violence end?
Goldie will one day soon be well enough to run with the same abandon she did before her accident. I can’t wait for that day. She will most assuredly heal from her open wound. I wish I could be as sure of the open wound that still festers in the heart of this great nation.
A retired Presbyterian minister, Mark Stoub lives in Kyle with his wife, Janie, Goldie and Calvin the cat. He is author of Blood Under the Altar, and the soon to be publised sequel, Fire in the Blood.