One of our members, Lindsey Derringer, recently served as an ambassador from Wimberley to attend an informational and legislative convention in Washington D.C. She has been kind enough to share her story and experience with us.
I am so very thankful to be a part of a church that engages in faith with our feet and hands, and I am grateful for the witness of people like Lindsey in seeking peace among division and safety for our most precious resource: our children.
I am honored to share her words, and happy to once again find myself with the joyful task of amplifying another’s voice.
Sincerely, Pastor Wes
"In 2012, there was a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people, including twenty 6 and 7-year-old children. At the time of the shooting, I was teaching 1st grade and had fifteen 5 and 6-year-olds in my class. I was deeply moved, especially knowing that the shooting was in a classroom just like mine.
These shootings continue to happen all over our country over the days, weeks, and years since Sandy Hook, and each time it happens, I am sure that you join me in sadness for the victims and their families.
When the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School happened in February 2018, I remember sitting in the HEB parking lot crying while my kids slept in the back seat of my car. That day was the day I became an activist. I was no longer going to just sit and cry in the car, I was going to fight for my children and for other children who are innocent victims of these terrible
crimes. So I looked up, “How can I help end gun violence?” That is when I found Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They had a group in New Braunfels so I contacted their leader then decided to start a group here in Wimberley.
We have three children (5, 3, and almost a year) and our oldest will be going to school this year. I often feel sheer panic when I have thoughts of something terrible happening at her school. I have thought of homeschooling our children, but I know that running from the problem is not the answer, and is not the best example for our children. This is why I have joined the fight against gun violence – so that maybe one day my children will not have to attend school and worry about gun violence. I honestly feel that God has given me this drive, this fire to fight. I have always been a non-confrontational person and a peacemaker but this issue has become a part of my heart, a part of who I am. When others disagree, which I know they do, I hope we can move past the disagreements on methods and all move toward a world with less gun violence – a goal I am sure we all share.
I have met and heard survivors of gun violence speak their truth. I recently heard from a mother and father of a man who lost his life in the Pulse nightclub in Florida. Through tears and bravery, while speaking to two thousand gun violence activists, the parents said that they had traveled around the country meeting and fighting alongside people like us. Then they said that they wished they had never had to meet us. I am not a survivor and I do not know what it feels like to go through this depth of pain but I can’t help but to imagine what it would feel like to have someone I love injured or killed in such a violent way. I think when we feel empathy for those who have lost loved ones or have lived through the horrors of gun violence, we can understand why we need to make changes.
There are times in which the gun violence fight seems hopeless and that things will never change. In those times, I am reminded of how views of smoking have changed. Pregnant women used to smoke; you could smoke on airplanes as well as in hospitals and doctor’s offices. We now see the terrible effects smoking has on people and since have changed the way we view it as well as laws around it. Societies can change – with the right information, and a common understanding of the problem.
Moms Demand Action supporters meet with lawmakers to advocate for laws and policies proven by evidence-based research to reduce gun deaths. We host rallies and meetings to share our work with our communities. We build relationships with community partners to support their work. We run Be SMART trainings to teach parents and adults about the importance of responsibly storing guns in homes and vehicles and how to have comfortable conversations about this touchy subject with other adults. We take trainings to further our knowledge of gun laws and culture change necessary to improve the safety of our communities. We support survivors of gun violence and listen to their stories and walk alongside them in their grief and pain. Everytown for Gun Safety is doing research to gain a better understanding about the reasons behind these heinous acts, and how we can best work towards ending the gun violence epidemic. I encourage everyone to read the research:
There are many perspectives on this particular issue. We all understand that there is not one law that will end gun violence. What we do have is 90% support for and research to show that a background check on every gun sale will save lives. It’s solutions like these that I am dedicated to enacting. My goal is for my children to sit in a classroom and learn without fear of gun violence, and I believe that the only way we can achieve that goal is through action. I think it is so important that we are talking about it and listening to each other. I am dedicating my time to this because I believe that we all want less gun violence and safer classrooms for our children and grandchildren. I am ready to talk, to listen, and to move forward with a plan that will end gun violence in America. At first glance, I suspect that some of you believe that you don’t agree with the values of Moms Demand Action. I am asking you to have a conversation with me and I am confident that we will agree on more than we disagree. Please, join me in the fight to end gun violence in a way that aligns with your beliefs and values.
I leave you with a quote from America’s first minister of gun violence, Rev. Deanna Hollas, “While all that we do as Christians should be rooted in worship and prayer, it should not stay there. It is like breathing — worship and prayer is the in-breath, and action is the out-breath.”