Bishop Greg RickelI recently shared on Twitter and Facebook and in every way I could the notice of the Claiming Common Ground against Gun Violence procession we will participate in at General Convention in Salt Lake City on the morning of June 28th.  I received many great replies, and was encouraged that many from this diocese, and people I know from all over the Episcopal Church plan to be with us that day. I know many who cannot attend, but who wish they could, will be praying for our procession, and even more for what it intends, and for what it hopes for.

Some chose to send me some of their favorite jokes about guns. I appreciated the sentiment of trying to lighten things up, or perhaps in some cases a backward way of suggesting we are going overboard. My hunch is all were sent with every good intention; however, I had to wonder why we think any jokes about guns are funny. It reminded me of the fundraising method popular a few years ago, and I still see every now and again, of basically “arresting” someone and holding them “in jail” until your friends bail you out by giving money to the cause. I always managed to avoid these. Every time I just felt that something did not seem right. I finally had an African-American friend suggest that the whole talk of being arrested and put in jail was not “fun.” It was not something to be made humorous. It was not a joke.

I feel the same about guns. They are serious business. I am trying to curb my use of very common terms such as “pulling the trigger,” “with a gun pointed at my head,” and “shoot.”  The list can go on and on.

I’ll be processing the morning of June 28th because I do not think there is anything funny about gun violence and I would like to do all I can to bring it to an end today, on that day, and every day that follows.

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel

Diocese of Olympia