Almost a week ago, Floyd Lee Corkins II, who had been a volunteer at an LGBT community center in Washington, D.C., walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council in that city and opened fire with 9 mm handgun.
Thanks to the heroics of the security guard on duty, Corkins, who reportedly uttered remarks in opposition to the council’s political positions and policies, was wrestled to the ground and subsequently taken into custody by law enforcement. The security guard was wounded, but will thankfully recover.
We, who are members of the LGBT community, know the terror of being targeted for our differences. We have been the victims of violence, and know how hard it is to regain a sense of security and well-being in the aftermath. I am sure I stand with people of faith across this country in praying for all those at the Family Research Council who have had that sense of safety shattered.
Though I know there is widespread disagreement about the interpretation of our nation’s constitutional guarantee of the right to bear arms, I also know this:
*Over 11,000 people were murdered with guns in the last year for which statistics are available.
*Almost half of the homes across this land have at least one gun on the premises.
*In some states it is easier to get gun license than a driver’s license.
*Many times it is the lives of our children and young people that are at stake.
We have seen heroes and leaders assassinations, school massacres, beltway snipers, shopping center tragedies, movie theatre assaults, houses of worship invasions, and college campus attacks, because for less than the cost of a night out in most of our cities, a handgun can be purchased.
I know that it will take people of good will approaching the question of gun violence from many angles to make the changes we need in order to live with less fear of being violently attacked. But I also know this: there is power in prayer. And so I am praying for the continued recovery of the security guard at the Family Research Council. I am praying for all those who have been or are the targets of violence because of who they are or what they stand for. And I am praying that people of good will everywhere will join me in taking action to end gun violence.
Whether it’s a prayer in church or temple or synagogue for the end of violence and stronger regulation of firearms or a call from the pulpit to voluntarily turn in weapons of violence at local police precincts, we have the power to work for change. Whether it’s an op-ed submission to a local newspaper or a school debate or a sidewalk conversation, we can persuade others that it is time to restore a sense of security and well-being, respect and care for all of us who call this land home.
Join me in making this a prayerful priority in your life for all our sakes.