Difficult Coincidence

Difficult Coincidence

It is probably just coincidence. It’s another Thursday morning after Mary Catherine has reminded me when she left the office on Wednesday afternoon that, “Dick needs an article from you.” It remained in the back of my mind through a wedding conference, emails, handbells, packing my briefcase and with Diane. Nothing came to the forefront though it all. It might be coincidence, then, that this morning, after Diane left to go walking at Oxmoor Mall with her sister; a movie I have seen several times (or more) came on the television.

I am pretty sure that every time I have seen this movie I have shed tears, lots of tears, during the last half hour or so. It’s curious as well that it is a baseball movie, one that I don’t think I listed in an article a few weeks ago. It’s titled, “Hardball” starring Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane and a team of young African-American boys. Without going into the whole entire story, Keanu is a “recovering” gambler who is forced to coach a team of little leaguers from the projects to pay off a debt. Much like the “Bad News Bears” these young men need their coach’s help to become good enough to compete with more well equipped and trained teams. In the end a player of small stature who is too young to really be on the team has to play and gets the game winning hit. An uplifting moment if ever there was one. At home, when he and his older brother are entering their building, they are confronted by some gang members, there to attack their rivals. Thinking they are safe hiding behind the building, the younger brother is killed in the ensuing shootout. An innocent little boy, who just wants to play baseball, lies dead in his brother’s arms.

It didn’t happen at school, or at church, or in a movie theater, but it is just as sad and yes, it brings streams of tears. It seems as though our society has become willing to sacrifice our children for our love affair with weapons. I know this is “hot button” issue which arouses serious emotional responses form people whether they are parents of children in Parkland, Florida, Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, or Blacksburg, Virginia, or responsible owners of handguns, rifles and shotguns. While I understand the emotional turmoil of issues involving the Second Amendment of the Constitution, I believe we must find some rational, civil way to talk about these issues. Social media is full of memes spouting vitriol from all sides. Shouting at each other is not helping the conversation to happen on any helpful level.

These issues are not going away; some young people in Florida who survived our latest mass shooting seem hell-bent on keeping us engaged. Their questions will be a topic of conversation for some time. Who should or shouldn’t have access to weapons? Why does anyone need to have a semi or fully automatic military grade assault weapon? How thorough should background checks be? And those are just for starters. Why have weapons in our homes that are not meant for hunting or personal protection? How many people are killed by weapons in the hands of friends or relatives? What measures can be taken to ensure the safety of all segments of our communities? The list goes on and on. How can we talk about this without resorting to such terrible and accusatory language? We are all in this together.

 At the February JCC Board meeting, we discussed briefly the safety of our faith community on Sunday mornings. The trustees will be looking into that concern in the coming months. If you would like to assist them in this endeavor, please contact the church.