To the editor:
For more than three centuries Quakers have believed in non-violence as a governing principle of society. This tenet is manifested in our Peace Testimony that prohibits members from participation in all forms of war. Non-violence in our lives and personal relations is also part of this commitment. This belief leads the Amesbury Friends Meeting to call for action in response to the recent shootings in Aurora and Newtown as well as in many other places.
We believe that all Americans, including gun owners, must work together to address the culture of violence. Although deaths by guns per capita are already significantly higher in the United States than in any other industrialized society, assault weapons with high-capacity magazines are becoming more prevalent every day. Movies, video games and much of the news media glorify shooting, bloodshed and brutality. Domestic violence and bullying in schools are far too frequent. The United States so far refuses to retreat from its role as the largest manufacturer and distributor of weapons in the world. And, for the past several decades, our country has been in a perpetual state of war.
We support reasonable gun control and other measures to reduce the prevalence of gun violence in our society. We also invite those holding different opinions to engage with us and each other in serious discussions about this violence. We need to listen respectfully, and thus to begin to gain an understanding of our differences. If we can learn from each other and identify the areas that we have in common, we will be better able to define the kind of peaceful society we want and the ways to achieve it.
Amesbury Friends Meeting
Martha McManamy, clerk