Following is the text of remarks by the Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, at the Boston Vigil to #EndGunViolence, sponsored by the diocese's B-PEACE antiviolence campaign and the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, at First Church, Boston on Thursday, Dec. 14, the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings.
Gun fatalities in the U.S. this past Sunday, December 10, 2017:
Chicago (3 deaths); Brooklyn; Lafayette, LA; Birmingham, AL; Lancaster, PA; Oklahoma City; Jacksonville; Salt Lake City; Nashville (2 deaths); Memphis; Boston; Decatur, GA; Roosevelt, UT; San Diego; Oakland; Philadelphia (2 deaths); Anchorage; Chesapeake, VA; Aberdeen, NC; Hebron, IN; Bakersfield, CA (2 deaths); Stockton, CA; Temple, TX; Baltimore; Hazelwood, MO; Dayton; Columbus (2 deaths); Norfolk, VA (2 deaths); Milwaukee; Maple Heights, OH; Akron, OH.[i]
Thirty-eight deaths by gun violence this past Sunday. Did you get weary of hearing the list? Did you wonder when it would ever stop? Indeed, we are weary of hearing the list. We do wonder when it will ever stop.
We are gathered tonight, on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. We remember the 20 children aged 6 to 7, and the 6 adults, who were gunned down that day. And remember we should. Yet it bears noting that on a quiet Sunday in December, five years later, as we all went about our business reading the Sunday paper, Christmas shopping, watching a football game – on that quiet Sunday thirty-eight people were shot and killed. That’s twelve more than died at Sandy Hook. Not that it’s a contest! Death statistics are not a competition. Grief is not a contest. But it is constant. It is constant, and to our shame as a nation, we seem barely to notice.