Weather Report March 2018

We are living in topsy-turvy times. A myriad of factors contribute to the undulating mood of our country. The observation of the fictional Marcellus is on target; “Something is rotten in Denmark.” 
Elsinore’s disease is anywhere’s, anytime’s. Something is spoiled in every society. At times, attuned to your sensibilities, you reach the conclusion that you cannot take it anymore. Your soul shudders.
Again a lone gunman has violently snuffed out the lives of innocents. It was an act of terror. The news of the deaths of youth and teachers while going about their day at school silenced our speech. Make no mistake; terror is the correct term. In the case of a true tragedy, there is no one to punish.
Unarmed, the students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would have had a difficult time facing down a man with a gun. They had no chance when hunted by a misfit firing an assault rifle. Despite the odds, many faculty and students acted courageously when confronted with the threat of death.
Whether or not this becomes a tragic situation is up to you and me. Will the American people act more nobly than the forces which seek to destroy us? Our society at present faces no more tragic situation than the presence of factions that have persuaded us not to listen to each other. Virtue is threatened.
Our civil society encompasses divergent social, economic and religious interests. Founding Father James Madison called it the problem of “faction” and he sought to establish safeguards against it in the fledgling democracy. Justice Breyer explains, “The natural tendency of these factions was to choose representatives not for their ‘abilities, integrity or patriotism’ but for their willingness to act solely to advance a group’s particular interests.”1  
The great objects of our society, e.g. the public good and private rights, require the best her citizens have to offer. These simple but profound goods are cherished by all. Children attending school without the threat of terror is a cherished ideal, as we have again learned so shockingly. Will we resolve to be ever watchful and work to eliminate as many of the conditions that give rise to gun violence as possible? This is an interest of all people.
There is hard and important work before us. As people of faith, we may demonstrate the virtue of hope when living in dark days. As people of these United States of America, we may remember that liberty necessitates truth. Liberty is not birthed by force, violence or power. Or as James Madison observed, the Constitution is a charter of power…granted by liberty, not a charter of liberty…granted by power.
1Breyer, Stephen. Active Liberty. P.28.