Carnage and Me

Let’s talk about carnage.
car·nage ˈkärnij/  noun
  1. the killing of a large number of people.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children sandy-hooktrapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.  From the Inauguration Speech of the 45th President of the U.S.A. 1-20-17

I have never personally witnessed what I would call “carnage.”  I have never fought in a war, been in a multi-car accident, stood on the grounds of  a school shooting, or observed a natural disaster first hand.  My life has been remarkably sheltered. But what I have witnessed first hand is this:

  • The testimony of my friend Mindy Corporan about April 13, 2014 when a white supremacist shot and killed her 14 year old son and her father in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, KS.  Note:  the shooter killed three human beings that day.  Killing Jews was his goal.  He killed three Christians which I share only to note the absurdity of this day. How did this Neo-Nazi get a gun?  How does a person so thoroughly hate people who happen to worship God in a different tradition? Gun accessibility has produced unspeakable carnage.
  • The testimony of my friend Valarie Kaur, a Sikh activist, who talks about the family friend who was shot on September 15, 2001 just days after the attacks on America by a person who mistook a patriotic Sikh business owner for a terrorist because of his turban and beard. He was shot in cold blood at his small business in Mesa, AZ.  Why did this person think he could take the law into his own hands? How did this shooter get to adulthood without a working knowledge of what people of other faiths believe and look like?  Hate crimes have produced unspeakable carnage.

This is the carnage I have observed.  And I’m not even talking about the carnage resulting from crimes against unarmed black men, crimes against police officers and gang violence in this city I now call home.

This is a carnage I know.  My prayer is that our new president will explore up close and personal this carnage rather than depend on cliches.

In the meantime, we who call ourselves The Church are called to address any and all who suffer these days.  I, for one, am grateful and – yes – proud to be part of a denomination who:

This is not the time to stare at whatever carnage you see or imagine.  This is the time to step up and serve in the name of all that is good and holy.  We were created for this.

Image of Sandy Hook Elementary School after the 2012 carnage resulting from a mentally ill shooter who should never have had access to guns.

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2 responses to “Carnage and Me

  1. Thank you Jan. This testimony is particularly poignant on this day when hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated all over the world.

  2. Mary Jane Cornell

    Thanks for faithfully speaking the truth that we all need to hear.

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