LIMA — Many times in the aftermath of mass shootings people offer thoughts and prayers, but the shootings still come regardless of how many thoughts and prayers are said.
The vicious cycle of gun violence isn’t something that’s going to go away overnight.
In Lima Sunday night, there was an ecumenical community healing service at Second Baptist Church with the lofty goal of ending gun violence.
“We need to do more in our community and it has to be with the church being the catalyst that brings about the change in the community,” said Pastor Dennis Ward.
Pastor Ward was joined by several other local pastors who participated in the service.
“I know that there are young people shooting at one another and killing one another,” said Pastor Bryan Bucher, with Shawnee United Methodist Church. “I’m a graduate of Lima Senior, class of ‘87. I know I know somebody or so do you and somehow we have to start leveraging the social capital so we can sit down with these young people and listen to them and find out why they feel like this is the only opportunity they have to be able to spend their life on. So if you have great ideas, the spirit is already working in you and don’t ignore the spirit because what’s the cost? You want God to work it because of you or in spite of you? That choice is yours.”
“It’s not the guns that kill, it’s the mindset behind the guns that kill. So if we change the mindset of those that carry the weapons, we might reduce some of the shootings but long-term there has to be change also by those that are lawmakers,” said Ward.
The mass shootings in Dayton are a wake-up call for people to move beyond thoughts and prayers.
“That’s what frustrated most of us because we have a National Day of Prayer and we do prayer, but we don’t do enough,” said Ward.
Governor Mike DeWine has come out with proposals that are aimed at curbing gun violence.
“It’s a good start. In America, we have more shootings that occur, especially mass shootings, than any other nation and so we have to be able to reach those lawmakers and they have to be strong enough to stand up to people like the NRA (National Rifle Association),” said Ward.
Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin was in attendance at the Community Healing Service and was encouraged by what he heard.
“I think it’s one of many good first steps that are needed. This is bringing community awareness to a problem of violence that we’re seeing in our community,” said Martin.
Gun violence is on the rise in Lima.
“As of the end of July, we have seen a 3.25% increase in violent crimes for the first seven months of 2019, compared to 2018. Each incident of violent crime is a very tragic event and so I think Second Baptist Church, Dr. Ward, what he is attempting to do in terms of bringing awareness to the problem and trying to get people to join together to help to find solutions to the problem I think is a very good step in the right direction for the community,” said Martin.
Martin agrees that more needs to be done to curb gun violence.
“Thoughts and prayers are needed for the victims of violence but then after the thoughts and prayers there has to be other actions taken.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.