We mourn with and pray for those whose lives have been irrevocably changed when a gunman opened fire yesterday at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 students and two adults. This marks the deadliest school shooting in the state's history and our hearts cry out in anguish and anger against this evil act.
But as we pray, we must do more. We must find a way to end this type of heinous and senseless violence from occurring in our communities. National reports indicate that there have been 27 school shootings in 2022 thus far with injuries or deaths. No student should live in fear of gun violence. It is unacceptable to have any of these shootings normalized in any way.
The words of a voted statement the Seventh-day Adventist World Church issued more than 30 years ago, before the heated political rhetoric of the day, ring true now: “Automatic or semi-automatic military-style weapons are becoming increasingly available to civilians. In some areas of the world, it is relatively easy to acquire such guns. They show up not only in the street but in the hands of youngsters at school. Many crimes are committed through the use of these kinds of weapons. They are made to kill people. They have no legitimate recreational use.”
We must search our souls for ways we can stem the tide of violence and implore our elected officials to take action. We must search our hearts and minds in order to prioritize human life.
As the world church statement declared, “Pursuits of peace and the preservation of life are to be the goals of Christians. Evil cannot be effectively met with evil but must be overcome with good. Seventh-day Adventists, with other people of goodwill, wish to cooperate in using every legitimate means of reducing, and eliminating where possible, the root causes of crime.”
We can’t keep thinking we are helpless in this. We can do something. We can hold our leaders and ourselves accountable.
And in echoing the words of the Psalmist, may God heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds (Ps. 147:3, NIV).
— North American Division Administration