The recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado is yet another example of the current epidemic of gun violence in our country. Twelve killed, 59 wounded from a shooting at a late-night opening of the new Batman film.
It has been reported that the alleged shooter used an AR-15 assault weapon.
President Obama altered his schedule during a campaign trip to Florida. He and Michelle issued a statement from the White House expressing their grief and support for the families of those affected. Additonally, the president commented on the event when he later spoke at the campaign stop.
The alleged shooter, James Holmes, is reported to be a white male and a former neuroscience Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado.
Investigation will presumably provide us with more details about the shooter and the actual events that occurred in the theatre in Aurora, CO.
Again, does anybody with community or political stature or authority care about this national epidemic of gun violence in America?
Are our members of Congress so intimidated by the National Rifle Association lobby that they choose silence rather than any public assertion of leadership to address this epidemic? Does support for individual rights to bear arms under our Second Amendment to the Constitution paralyze any action of leadership to limit access to automatic weapons?
More importantly, where is the leadership from the faith-based community to initiate action to address this epidemic of gun violence? Where are the voices of Pastors Joel Osteen, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Paula White, Bishop Edward Long, Richard Warren, and Pastor Fred Luter, the newly elected African-American head of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention?
I call their attention to what Dr. King said in 1967 about the importance of moral leadership:
I'm not a consensus leader. I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [the organization which he headed]. I've not taken a sort of Gallup Poll of the majority opinion. Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?
There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right. I believe today that there is a need for all people of goodwill to come with a massive act of conscience.
Presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney is to be commended for his thoughtful comment earlier today in response to the Aurora, CO shootings. While politicos can "OD" over his failure to release more of his tax returns, his statement clearly shows that the Lord is not finished with him yet. Mitt Romney apparently is a "work in progress." His statement indicates a capacity to express love and compassion in response to this national horrific tragedy. Other Republican leaders should pause and reflect on the caring statement issued by candidate Romney.
On the occasion of this yet another tragic incident of gun violence, we should also all remember another observation of Dr. King: "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."