Lord, forgive us. Forgive us when we fail as individuals. Forgive us when we fail as a nation. In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 5, a total of seven individuals were shot in the Broad Ripple district of Indianapolis. Late in the evening on the same day, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Perry Renn was shot and killed as he was responding to a call of shots fired on the northeast side of the city. Then, in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 6, Gary Police Officer Jeffery Westerfield was found shot and dead in his patrol car while he was on duty.Violence, especially violence perpetrated by firearms, has become the new normal in our culture. It only takes a few words or names to evoke mental images of past incidents of violence: Sandy Hook; Trayvon Martin; IMPD Officer Rod Bradway; Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; Purdue University; Columbine; Waco. The violence must stop; we were created for more than this. But this is easier said than done.Matthew Tully, writing for the Indianapolis Star on July 8 said: “(Indianapolis’) problems are deep and complicated, wrapped up in issues of absentee parents and childhood neglect, drug abuse and dysfunction, and, in many cases, a culture that embraces and glorifies violence and, too often, a complete lack of respect for just about everything.” I fully agree with Tully. As I continued to read the Indianapolis Star on July 8, Erika Smith’s article hit it out of the park for me: “It's time we face it: We have a significant number of people in our community who don't give a damn about another person's life.”The Second Amendment protects the “right to bear arms” and even though I want to be bold enough to challenge this constitutionally protected right, I still don’t think that changing this amendment will end the root cause of the violence in our nation. We, of course, learned this lesson from the 1996 movie Happy Gilmore as the bright orange T-shirt worn by Happy’s boss Mr. Larson declared: Guns don’t kill people; I kill people.Guns aren’t the problem. We are.Our society needs an attitude adjustment. We must teach our children and grandchildren the value of the personhood of all individuals. We must teach the younger generations the practice of patience and compassion. We must teach those who view us as mentors and role models about the appropriate responses to anger. And, we must put into practice in our own lives these very same practices that we teach.The violence will only end when we look internally at our own tendencies to place our needs, emotions and desires above those of our neighbors. It seems like Jesus said something like this once.Rev. Anthony Stone is the Associate Pastor at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lebanon, and he serves as a law enforcement chaplain with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
A flashback trip to our Indiana State Fair, continued
The first thing that catches my attention is the smell from the food trailers that dot the landscape of the midway. To my right is a booth that offers everything from lemonade shake-ups to a wide variety of sandwiches, along with whopping orders of f
Home is where the heart truly is
In a most pleasant turn of events, hubby came home Sunday night. When he left on July 5, we didn’t expect to see him again until the end of September, but now we have two wonderful weeks to spend together.I told our teenage daughter, “Daddy has a lot
A trip to remember - or try to at least
My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with
Preparing for Christmas in July
Christmas in July. No, I’m not talking about the big celebration with food and gifts; although, when my husband and I were active duty military, we did know several soldiers whose families had Christmas celebrations in the summer because that was the
How is your prayer life going?
Too often, prayer is a misunderstood, beautiful gift given to us by God in order to have a relationship with Him. Some have grown up thinking that church leadership should be the only ones who pray; but you won’t find that in the Bible. God made a wa
A flashback trip to our Indiana State Fair, part one
It’s sometime in the early 70s, the middle of August, and approaching six in the morning of an already humid and sultry day. My parents and I are making our way into the Indiana State Fairgrounds where we will park somewhere in the infield. Like most
Riding the old time rails with Grumpy
Acting in my role of “Mom the Chauffeur,” I hauled teen daughter to Grand Rapids last week for her Rotary Youth Conference. That gave me three days to fill with my 6- and 7-year-olds, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Grand Rapids offers a n
Please go away and take this advice with you
My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m
Pollution, politics, propaganda, what to do?
As the rain beats against the roof of the tent it nearly puts me into a hypnotic trance. Outside puddles are gathering on our picnic table, soaking anything that we had forgotten to stow away before the storm hit us. Way back when I went camping with
- A flashback trip to our Indiana State Fair, continued