It feels as though there is a gaping hole in our nation's soul. It is time we take a serious look at the epidemic of violence in America, and begin to implement real solutions; they are out there. It's hard to deny that easy access to guns, especially semi-automatics, play a serious role in these mass shooting tragedies in the U.S. How many mass school shootings happen in nations with strict controls on guns? How many mass school shootings happen in the United Kingdom, Australia or Canada each year? None. And yet, our mass shootings in the U.S. continue to rack up. There is certainly a correlation. But there are other important causes at play as well. We must develop social structures and comprehensive strategies that can help bring healing to our communities and build resilience in our society. Can we really afford to wait any longer to do so?
Rather than approaching crime from the perspective of restorative justice and public health, seeking to help people to reform and re-integrate, our country has instead not only continued in a model of punishment that can only be described as "medieval", but has grown it to a scale unprecedented in world history.
The national sense of urgency over the reckless violence that two years ago yesterday took the life of an honor roll student like Hadiya Pendleton -- who just a week earlier had performed at President Obama's inauguration -- has vanished. Yet there are signs of change here in Chicago, however gradual.