It’s a “special” day for one of the Wismers. So as a gift to myself, I wanted to share an interesting report I read entitled: Gun Violence and COVID-19 in 2020 A Year of Colliding Crises. Here are the key findings: (1) The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the impact of our country’s gun violence crisis. There were 3,906 additional firearm deaths and 9,278 additional firearm injuries in 2020 compared to 2019. (2) Cities saw historic levels of violence last year. Three in four big-city law enforcement agencies saw increases in firearm homicides in 2020. And as the coronavirus has rolled across the country, the impacts of both COVID-19 and gun violence have not been evenly felt. Black Americans, while not more susceptible to contracting the disease, are nearly twice as likely as white Americans to die from COVID-19. They are also 10 times as likely as white people to die by firearm homicide. (3) Gun sales have surged during the coronavirus pandemic. Based on the number of background checks, “Everytown” estimates that people purchased 22 million guns in 2020, a 64 percent increase over 2019. (4) Unintentional shooting deaths by children increased by nearly one-third comparing incidents in March to December of 2020 to the same months in 2019. The pandemic saw millions of children out of school while gun sales hit record highs, bringing more guns into homes. This resulted in a tragic surge in the number of children accessing firearms and unintentionally shooting themselves or someone else. (5) Domestic violence spikes during times of prolonged emotional and financial stress. Stay-at-home orders and reduced capacity in shelters left domestic violence victims trapped with abusive partners. Too many of these abusers had easy access to guns. Data from over 40 states showed about half of domestic violence service providers surveyed saw an increase in gun threats toward survivors of intimate partner violence in their communities during the pandemic. (6) Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, particularly against AAPI women. Violence against women and the AAPI community, fueled by hate, is made more deadly by easy access to guns.  (Don’t worry, tomorrow is Friday – you can expect a less serious topic.)

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:33
“…for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.”

Reflection Questions:
What do you think are the root causes of violence?
What does blessed are the peacemakers mean to you?
How are you a person of peace?

Prayer: Holy God, when I diminish myself or another, open me to your peace. When I fret over the ways of those I misunderstand, disagree with or reject let your grace refashion me by your goodness.  Remind me that you take delight in me. Amen.