COLUMBUS, OH - During the first week of May, Dominican Sisters of Peace Valerie Shauland Thoma Swanson and Associates Ann Hall and Rev. Tim Ahrens attended a press conference on gun violence in Columbus, Ohio. Our thanks to Associate Rev. Tim Ahrens, who wrote the following article surround this event.
By Associate Rev. Tim Ahrens We must stop gun violence if Ohio's children are going to have a prayer of hope and a future without fear. We must stand our ground on the sacred ground of our beloved state and say "NO" to legislation which increases the number of shots fired and children wounded and slain in our state. No one needs to have a gun in school.
In memory of Russell King, Demetrius Hewlin, and Daniel Parmertor, who were murdered in the school cafeteria of Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, at 7:30am on February 27, and in honor of Joy Ricker and Nick Walczak, who were injured by the gunfire, the leaders of Ohio should be presenting Gun Control Legislation rather than presenting more gun laws that allow for carrying weapons into public places including churches, mosques, and synagogues.
As a religious leader in the great state of Ohio, I believe in our motto - "with God all things are possible" - including the possibility of controlling the sale of handguns and weapons in our state. No one needs to have a gun in church. When I pass the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I should not wonder if my brother or sister in Christ is "packing a weapon" which stands against the very peace of our Savior.
In a nation where the number of preschoolers killed by guns in 2008 (88) and in 2009 (85) was nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2008 (41) and 2009 (48), we don't need to arm more people and allow for more freedom to carry weapons of mass destruction.
As a pastor and a father, I am aware that the social cost to us as Americans is great as well. In the emergency rooms of our area hospitals, the cost of caring for those wounded by gun violence continues to rise each day. That cost is passed on to all citizens of our state who pay for rising costs of medical insurance. In addition, the cost in the legal system, the prison system, and even our educational systems for protecting us against our own escalating gun violence, is crippling our economy - except for those who benefit from the sales of weapons.
I call upon Governor Kasich and all elected officials in Ohio, to honor our gunned down children - including Russell King, Demetrius Hewlin, and Daniel Parmertor by saying "No" to those on the extreme edges of society and politics who seek to force "Stand our ground" legislation on the rest of us. Honor the grieving families of Russell, Demtetrius, and Daniel by vetoing and voting no on legislation which endangers us all.