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Sandy Hook 10 years later

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

From the Executive Director’s Pen… Tonight, December 14, 2022, we remember the 26 precious individuals who were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. Twenty children and six adults were killed by Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man with a semi-automatic assault weapon. He took his own life after his shooting rampage. Prior to his horrific crimes at Sandy Hook, Lanza shot and killed his mother. As we recall the horror of December 14, 2012, we also remember the scores of other children and adults who had their lives snatched away or altered by vicious gun violence on college campuses, in religious institutions, in grocery stores, and in more school settings. Also on our minds are those who were shot to death in their homes, on streets in their neighborhoods, on playgrounds, and in nightclubs. Some were shot because of racial prejudice and hate for their religion or the color of their skin. Others because of contempt for their sexual orientation and gender identity. Some because they were wearing a hoodie or had a misunderstood mental condition. Many were shot because of their domestic proximity. Gun violence as mentioned on this page and remembered in our hearts is often labeled as tragic. What makes gun deaths and injuries tragic is not just the grotesque nature of firearm-related crimes. It is also the realization that the seemingly countless acts of gun violence did not have to exist. I do not believe there is a heavenly script or pattern that calls for gun violence to destroy bodies, ruin neighborhoods, and shatter civic trust. As a Christian minister and brother of a woman killed by gunfire, I do not believe gun violence-related deaths and injuries are consistent with God’s will for our lives. I believe God wants humans to flourish and engage in abundant living. After all, we are in the middle of Advent, preparing to celebrate once more the birth of Jesus, our savior who came to give life, abundant life. Gun violence is a clear and present affront to the will of God. For those of us who subscribe to God’s vision of human flourishing and abundant living, now is the time for us to pray together, forge community conversations, and then act together to prevent gun violence. Now is the time for us to publicly articulate and advance God’s vision and our faith-infused refusal to normalize gun violence. Now is the time for us to become educated on actions and legislation that have the power to prevent gun violence, and then demand their implementation. Now is the time for us to act! I invite you to visit the website of our partner organization, the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence to learn what you and your congregation can do to prevent gun violence. As we collectively remember lives taken and altered by gun violence at Sandy Hook, in urban areas, and beyond, let us draw closer to survivors, those directly impacted by gun violence or have loved ones who were killed or injured by gunfire. Listen to their stories. Understand their needs. Form restorative relationships with them. To learn more about the needs of survivors, go to Essential Needs of Murder Victim Families and Survivors Empowered May the peace of God be with us. Literally. With hope, Jack The Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr. Executive Director The Ohio Council of Churches

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