Dear Kentucky lawmakers,
Do you see this picture? This is the front of the church where I worship. And those are crosses. Crosses on the lawn of our church.
Every December, on the Sunday in Advent when we celebrate Peace, we mark the opposite of peace in our city by placing crosses on the lawn in memory of persons killed by an act of violence. One cross for each person killed. One cross for each life ended too soon, usually by a gun.
As we hand out the crosses, we call out the name and age of the person killed. This year there was a 3-month-old. And a 7-year-old. When their names and ages were read, there was a groan from the congregation, as if punched in the stomach, a sound of pain and grief.
Think about that. Three months old. Seven years old. Think about that. Sit and think about that.
Then look again, lawmakers. Look, and count. This year there are 110 crosses. One hundred ten persons killed in Louisville in 2017. And the year isn’t over.
Just look. And reflect on the lives lost, and the families torn apart, and the pain and grief and weeping each of those crosses represent.
And then look those families in the eye, and tell them there is nothing you can do. Shrug your shoulders, and say you’re sorry, but there is nothing you can do. And turn away.
Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers. And turn away.
You know better. You know that there are things you can do, actions you can take, common-sense gun laws that you could pass. Laws that would help stop the guns flooding into our cities, into Louisville. Even laws that would allow Louisville to come up with its own common-sense solutions.
But you’re scared. You’re scared of the NRA, and you’re scared of a primary, and you’re scared of losing an election. So you do nothing. You are scared, and you do nothing.
And because you are afraid, and because you do nothing, even though you could, hundreds of families across this state face the holidays with empty chairs at the table and bleeding wounds in their hearts.
And we place crosses on a lawn. Every year, for twenty years. Waiting on things to change. Waiting on you to make a difference.
And you turn away.
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