71 Prayers By Russell Simmons

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Every morning I meditate. I sit for twenty minutes and allow time for the noise to settle. This morning after my meditation, as I am most every morning, I was in a peaceful state. Then I heard the tragic news of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. My mind raced, thoughts about the families, the community, the children…the victims. My first feeling was deep sadness for those who are directly affected by the shooting, but I couldn’t help think about what kind of gun could shoot that many people that quickly. I wish I could come up with words that could help the victims and their families feel better for a moment, but I don’t know that I have that potential. So, instead I say a prayer for our nation.

As a nation we have been here far too many times before…we are well beyond our tipping point. We are well beyond the comprehension of needed and necessary gun reform. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone in this country needs to own a semi-automatic AR-15 or anything that looks like that gun that shot 71 people this morning in Colorado. We don’t need more 6-year-old children shot or service members shot or college students shot or 53 people shot in one weekend in Chicago to understand that our country has a violence problem. America has 89 guns per every 100 citizens. If you add guns from the military, we have more guns than we have people. I am not suggesting that the amount of guns is the reason why 71 people were shot this morning. However, the fascination with guns as part of our American culture certainly does not help. And the easy access to buying guns certainly does not help either.

I cannot help but think about the dangerous weapons that were used to kill and hurt all of these innocent people. I know we are supposed to just say nice words, but if we don’t seize these moments to reflect and make changes, this will happen again and again…and our nice words will be judged as hollow. I will continue to pray for the victims of today’s massacre, 71 prayers, but I will also pray that our nation has the courage to stop this madness once and for all.

-Russell Simmons

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