The Oregon college- campus shooting earlier this month (October 2, 2015)  is another tragedy and another painful reminder of the challenge that this nation faces in dealing with gun violence. The time is overdue that we as a nation address root causes of such ongoing challenge facing our society. Violence and acts of hate are our common enemy and no one is immune to being their victim. No one can predict the date, time, location and the circumstances where they or someone they love might find themselves victimized by hate and senseless violence acts that we as a society have failed to do everything possible to prevent.

It seems that we as a nation are caught in a vicious cycle of gun violence. This vicious cycle of acts of violence generates temporary interest in gun violence. We find ourselves reacting to one gun violence tragedy after another. We are due for a serious deep local and national conversation addressing this serious challenge facing our society. The issue of gun violence is a matter of life or death, literally, and is not a political football to be used to settle scores.  We know enough about science, psychology, and criminology to develop policies whose goal is to preserve life.  This is a challenge facing all of us and requires nothing but a collective collaborative efforts to develop creative and intelligent solutions.  These senseless crimes should shock our conscience into action.

The most important right a human being has is the right to life. Institutions whether they are civic, religious or academic institutions have an obligation to be welcoming as well as safe environments.

We as a society should not be satisfied with ritual condemnations of gun violence like the one we saw at the Oregon college and at other locations. Regardless of the motives and drivers of gun violence, whether it is caused by is mentally illness or political or religious or anti religion grievances, it is incumbent upon all of us irrespective of our background or political preferences to see the problem as a common challenge that requires all of us to rise to the challenge of to protecting lives.

Our attention to this matter should not be cyclical. Gun violence should be on the top of our action agenda regardless of the headlines.

By:  Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director

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