The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Reconstructing Judaism express horror at the violent shooting in Parkland, Florida that has taken the lives of 17 individuals and injured many more. We mourn with those who lost loved ones and offer our prayers for speedy and full healing to the injured.
Our tradition calls on us to not stand idly by the blood of our neighbors (Lev. 19:16) and demands that we not become inured to these horrific acts of violence. As our teacher Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “…morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”
While raising our voices in prayer and condolences for the victims of violence, we also raise our voices to call for the enactment and enforcement of reasonable gun laws throughout this country that would prevent such tragedies.
This shooting in Parkland is the 18th school shooting and 30th mass shooting in the United States since January 1, 2018. There were 346 mass shootings in 2017 – almost one per day. No other country in the world tolerates this level of slaughter of young people at the hands of heavily armed shooters. Sandy Hook. Orlando. Las Vegas. Sutherland Springs and now Parkland, are all communities shattered by losses that we know could have been prevented.
We continue to call for a ban on “bump-stock” and high-capacity magazines, increased background checks and waiting periods and an end to limits on the tracking and research of gun violence as a public health issue. These and other common-sense changes are supported by most Americans and must be enacted as a matter of life and death.
We call upon our elected leaders and politicians to act now so that the next mass slaughter is not inevitable.