Last Christmas, my husband and I went to the movies to see Fences. We’re both huge Denzel Washington fans, so an opportunity to see his movie made the day enjoyable. This Christmas, Denzel’s movie, Roman J. Israel, Esq will be released, so obviously, I suggested we watch it. He showed some hesitation about going to a movie theatre on a holiday. His reason: Christmas will bring a huge audience to the theater, making it vulnerable to a gun attack.
I nodded sadly, acknowledging what life has been for us living in an era where mass shootings are becoming common. Nowadays, the simple act of seeing a movie in a public location is scary.
Yesterday evening, as I was getting in my car to drive to our local Wal-Mart, I received notification on my phone about the mass church shooting in Texas. Gosh, not another one! I thought to myself.
When I went to an 11am church service earlier that day, I was vulnerable to a gun attack. I was vulnerable to a gun attack at Walmart. Shopping is not always a pleasure at Walmart, but on this particular evening – after receiving word about a mass shooting – it was extremely unpleasant. I was on pins and needles looking out for anyone who looked suspicious. Instead of looking for the best deals, I was looking out for exits and planning escapes in case anything happened.
The experience of going to the movie theaters will never be the same for me. Listening to a sermon at church will never be the same for me. Picking up toiletries at Walmart will never be the same for me. Attending a concert of my favorite musician will never be the same for me. God help me stay sane when I have children and have to send them to school. The news respondent posed a question that a lot of us have been thinking: Are we safe anywhere anymore?
The answer is no.
I believe in being the change we want to see in the world. So, I encourage you to play your role to reduce gun violence in this country, in whatever way you see fit. Gun violence is a public health issue that is becoming worse each day.
My heart goes out to everyone who has been directly affected by the tragedy that occurred at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. May God comfort the victims’ families and bring them a sense of peace in this horrific tragedy.