America’s ‘violence problem’

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Speaking to Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Nation, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said he was more concerned about America’s “violence problem” than about new gun control legislation.

“I’m troubled that this whole debate is about guns,” he told Crowley on April 14, “it should be about violence.”

“The fact of the matter is we have a violence problem here in the United States and we are missing a golden opportunity to have an open, honest and serious conversation about why we’re having these horrific, violent acts occurring in our society …”

The next day in Boston, as some 20,000 participants and close to half a million spectators gathered to watch America’s oldest marathon, two explosions took the lives of three people – an eight year old boy and two women – and injured over 150.

On that same day, the Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial resumed in Philadelphia as witnesses testified about the grisly conditions of his abortion clinic. A man who took care of cleaning revealed that when using a plunger to unclog a toilet, body parts of aborted babies came up out of the waste.

Last June, 12 people were killed and 58 were wounded when a man opened fire on a midnight premiere at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

About two months later, two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio raped an unconscious teenage girl during a night of partying. As if that weren’t horrific enough, the girl had to piece together the night from text messages, cell phone pictures and social media postings about what had been done to her.

Just before Christmas, 27 people – 20 of whom were school children – were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Just last week, 14 people were wounded in Cypress, Texas as a student at a community college went on a stabbing spree with a utility knife. Thankfully, no one was killed.

It seems that each time we begin to process one disturbing act of violence, another one springs up in its place. So what is it that will eliminate this trend?

These acts of violence – these callous episodes of disrespect for human life – and the many, many others like them are not isolated events.

The connection in these acts of violence is a lack of respect for human life. In whatever stage people are — be it pre-born, childhood, teenage, young adult, middle-aged or senior citizen — the fact remains, in the words of Dr. Seuss,  “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

And now it seems necessary to add,  ”No matter how old, no matter how young.”

In his farewell address to the United States in 1987, Pope John Paul II said, “If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person.”