Monday, June 13, 2016

Heartache in Honoka'a

Right at the beginning of our stay in Honoka'a, a town in the NE part of the Big Island of Hawai'i the news broke of the massacre in Orlando.  The people in Hawai'i are just as heartsick as the rest of us are about this latest mass shooting.  The folks we've spoken with here are fairly liberal politically--but they are also very big into hunting.  Jacqueline, our B&B host, said that Hawai'i is the state with the largest amount of privately owned guns--and also the state with the lowest violent use of those guns against other humans.  Interesting, isn't it?

What do they use the guns for?  For hunting.  What do you hunt on the Big Island?  There are no deer or bears here...but there sure are lots of wild, large pigs.  They escaped a long time ago from farms and now rule the countryside.  Hunters here go after them.  A woman I was speaking with at lunch today said she has a couple of large macadamia nut trees on her property.  When the nuts are ripe you can hear the pigs at night, under the trees, munching away.  No wonder there are so many barbecue places here...

But enough of those musings.  The amount of guns here and the low crime rate help to remind me that issues like mass killings, gun control, and mental health services are nuanced.  And that explains in part why we've made such little progress in stopping their sale to people who are unbalanced or a threat to the security of our country.

I must admit, though, that I just don't see why we still sell automatic and semi-automatic weapons, as well as handguns like we do; that makes no sense whatever to me.  I hope and pray that one day these horrible killing tools will be hard to come by ...and that very gradually there will be fewer and fewer on the streets.  I know that some of our parishioners will agree with me--and that others will forcefully disagree.  So be it.

I hope that all who read this post will join me in prayer for the victims in Orlando and for their friends and families.  May God give us increased wisdom about how to help prevent further tragedies.

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