Pastor Wes shares thoughts on escalating gun violence

      Along with all of America, we grieve for those whose lives ended violently recently at a concert in Las Vegas, on a bike path in New York, and at a church in Texas. We continue to pray for all victims of violence.

      As we hear of these horrific events, our first instinct is to huddle in our homes behind locked doors. I was gathered in a park yesterday with a crowd of folks who were advocating for a comprehensive city/county plan that would relieve homelessness. At one point, I had the thought that all these people gathered in a public place would be a perfect target for a deranged attacker. All these awful scenarios flashed through my mind and I wondered if anyone would notice if I started running full speed to my car with a terrible look on my face.

      But then I let those anxious thoughts go and began to do the math. Statistically, you are safer in a park, at a concert, on a bike path, and in church than you are in your home. Many more people die in their home each year than any of these other places. Many more people are injured in their home than any of these places. Many more people suffer gunshot wounds in their home than these places, since most gunshot wounds are self-inflicted or the result of a domestic violence situation.

      Plus, the more you get out of your home and spend time with other people, the happier and more physically and mentally healthy you’ll be. Research has shown this to be true.

      At Westminster, we may not have any armed guards for your protection like some other larger church, but we have attentive staff, greeters/ushers, and church members who quickly assess situations and make good decisions to resolve them.

      And please, don’t bring a concealed weapon to worship in hopes of thwarting the attack of a deranged gunman. Attacks in churches, statistically speaking, are very, very rare, and the answer to gun violence in America is certainly not more guns. You are safer if you don’t carry a gun or have a gun in your home.

     Finally, pray and advocate for stronger gun control laws. This American obsession with firearms is infantile.

       I’ll see you in church this Sunday, if for no other reason than to show the world whose side you are on.