recent mass shootings in our country impel us to once again beg all citizens
and all elected leaders to end the rampant rage and division that have
overpowered the nation and too often result in mass, indiscriminate violence.
We are a nation that promises a life free from fear, and yet we seem unable to
stop the epidemic of hate that has overwhelmed us. As we have been carrying in
our own hearts the pain being endured by families who have lost loved ones and
those wounded through gun violence, we bring in as well those impacted by these
we are witnessing today is being called stochastic terrorism -- the use of mass
public communication, usually against a particular individual or group, which
incites or inspires acts of terrorism which are statistically probable but
happen seemingly at random. The demonization of groups through mass media has been
shown to result in violent acts because some who hear this speech interpret it
as promoting targeted violence. We insist that society be protected from such
acts of terrorism. We are called to confront rhetoric that stokes racism and
hatred of anyone perceived to be “different” than we are. We are all
responsible for monitoring our own language and actions and calling attention
when the language and actions of others cross the line.
We implore all legislative
bodies to pass legislation that effectively prevents gun violence. We call for
the passage of laws that ban assault weapons, require universal background
checks for all gun sales, provide funding for gun violence prevention research,
and makes the trafficking in weapons a federal crime.
While mass shootings capture
our attention, we cannot forget that they are only part of the pervasive
violence perpetrated by use of firearms. Most major cities see shooting deaths
regularly, and suicides, domestic violence, and accidents caused by guns are
pervasive in all parts of the country. According to the Gun Violence Archives, so far this year more than
8,734 people were shot to death and more than 17,300 people were injured in
more than 33,000 incidents. Those numbers do not include firearm suicides.
While the horror of mass shootings captures our attention, gun violence persists
day after day and its massive scale goes unnoticed.
The deeper causes of violence
must be addressed by us as a nation, and we must put our resources there
immediately. Only by focusing on the multi-layered foundations of violence will
we succeed in making our nation a safer and less fearful place for all.
As the Leadership Conference of
Women Religious (LCWR), we pledge our support to end the scourge of rage and
hatred that has gripped our nation and we will be unfailing in our efforts to
call for legislation that works to end gun violence quickly and effectively.