One of the victims of the Tucson shootings was arrested tonight after making verbal threats against a Tea Party member. J. Eric Fuller has been taken to a facility for a mental health evaluation, reports The New York Times. You can imagine the anguish this U.S. veteran feels after being shot last weekend in the back and knee. Trauma victims often live with on-going mental health issues long after events such as the Tucson shootings. We should keep Mr. Fuller in our prayers, as we continue to pray for reconciliation and an end to violence.
In the meantime, it should be noted that earlier today The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon renewed his call for an end to gun violence in America:
On the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the general secretary of the National Council of Churches has called on individual NCC governing board members, communion heads and other representatives to let their political officials know they oppose the easy availability of fire arms.
"I strongly urge you to write your own congressional delegates and state governor, letting them know that you, too, are the NCC -- and that together we say an emphatic 'No!' to laws that allow assault weapons and handguns with oversize magazines to be readily available on our city streets," Kinnamon wrote today in a letter to NCC representatives.
Kinnamon said his message comes "in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Tucson, an event which I am sure we have all named in our personal times of prayer."
A surge of voices from national, state and local bodies will remind political leaders of the scope of the NCC's partnerships, Kinnamon noted. "When we send letters from the NCC office to Congress and/or the Administration, they are too often dismissed as the message of a single organization instead of the collective witness of a community of communions," Kinnamon wrote.
Kinnamon noted that the NCC Governing Board adopted a resolution against gun violence last May.
"Ending Gun Violence: A Resolution and Call to Action by the National Council of Churches," calls upon the NCC's member communions to "prayerfully, financially, and otherwise support the NCC staff in coordinating ecumenical efforts for gun violence reduction, including preparing educational materials about the magnitude of gun violence, developing avenues for dialogue among gun owners and gun control advocates within our congregations, and offering a faithful witness in cooperating with inter-faith and nonreligious anti-gun advocacy organizations."
The full text of the resolution can be downloaded at http://www.ncccusa.org/NCCpolicies/gunviolence.pdf
Kinnamon wrote: "In addition to prayer and calls for civility, I believe this is also the moment to press our long-standing concern as a community of Christian communions for laws aimed at reducing gun violence in America. It is not exploiting (Tucson) tragedy for followers of the Prince of Peace to say, 'Enough!' Every serious study on the subject shows that easy access to guns is a menace to our nation's public health."
Kinnamon cited a column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times calling for regulations "to regulate guns as seriously as toys."
As we continue to reflect on both gun violence and the need for more civility in our political and religious lives, I want to offer again these two sermons on the topics: