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Responding to Mass Violence: A Reflection

May 25, 2022 by Bob Reeg, Chief Executive Officer, Peace Through Action USA

We are issuing our May 2022 newsletter on the heels of the mass murders of children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas and of grocery shoppers and employees in Buffalo, New York. It would be odd for an organization seeking to increase peace in the United States to say nothing about these recent acts of mass violence in our either poorly-timed or well-timed regular communication. This is our humble effort to say something of use.

Peace Through Action USA extends condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of people killed in the mass murders in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. We associate with the mass of humanity who are shocked, distraught, heart-broken, and outraged by these mass murders, and others that have occurred before them. We recognize that Uvalde and Buffalo are additions to an ever-growing list of communities whose members now include families, friends, and colleagues who grieve the deaths by mass murder of people they loved. And we uplift the countless family members who bear the burden of having had relatives taken from them by homicide, but outside the glare of national media coverage “simply” because those murders were not of sufficient mass.

Forensic analyses of mass murders in Uvalde, Buffalo, and too many other communities are beyond our expertise or capacity. We will simplify their root cause by applying the adage “hurt people hurt people.”

The United States is a nation with #TooManyHurtingPeople, indeed!

With that root cause in focus, solutions to mass violence—and all violence—are countless. And they are within our capability individually and collectively. Solutions that range from the interpersonal such as practicing kindness toward others, noticing when others are struggling about something and demonstrating empathy toward them, and helping connect people with psychosocial or safety needs to community resources; to public policymaking such as engaging in respectful dialogue with others whose positions differ from our own to bridge differences and increasing governmental regulation of deadly products including firearms; to the societal such as uplifting leaders who exercise their political and influential power with compassion and expecting ourselves and our kindred Americans to be our best selves.

If we are to effectively transition from a nation of #TooManyHurtingPeople to one of #SoManyLovingPeople, each American must #DoSomethingForPeace. Mass murders remind us of this imperative. Yet, it should not take mass casualties to wake us from our slumber. Violence in its many forms occurs daily. Peaceful solutions to violence are available daily. Identify one or more solutions that motivate you to action and then do so, with haste.

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