The image is from Patrick Chappatte, an editorial cartoonist for The International New York Times. View more of his work, visit his Website or follow him on Twitter.

In the last seven days 289 people have been killed by a gun in the United States.

Including the victims of the Orlando night club shooting, that is an average of 41 deaths per day. Not including those victims, it is an average of 34 deaths per day.

The deaths occurred in 38 American states.

The death count includes the 33 other Americans, besides the 49 killed in Orlando night club, who were also shot and killed across the United States on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

The death count includes the 206 other people killed, one, two, three, four, or five at a time, by a bullet fired in the United States on the other six days in the past week.   In some cases the shooter was an individual fueled by anger, hatred, and rage, who shot and killed their own spouse and children. In other cases the shooters were police officers who felt compelled to shoot and kill suspects who produced guns in their confrontation with police.

In all cases the death was by a bullet fired by a gun.

The Gun Violence Archive (GVA) records these deaths on its website in real time. Using information gleaned daily from 1,500 media, law enforcement, government and commercial sources, it attempts to provide as near-real time data as possible about gun deaths. Its website says it is “not, by design an advocacy group.” Rather, its goal is to provide raw data for policy makers, activists, and citizens in discussions about policies and responses to gun violence in the United States.

The total number of deaths by guns is actually higher. The GVA does not record accidental deaths or suicides by guns in these figures – unless the incident is a murder-suicide. Nor can it include deaths not yet reported.

Here’s a sample of stories behind the numbers:

Wednesday, June 8 – Boston, Massachusetts. A high school student was shot and killed at the Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester as the student body evacuated the school in response to a fire alarm. I started my count on this day because the principle of the high school, Lindsa McIntyre, is a lifelong Lutheran and member of The Intersection, Dorchester (formerly, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church).

Saturday, June 11 – Roswell, New Mexico.   A man shot and killed his wife and four daughters ages 14, 11, 7, and 3.

Saturday, June 11Panorama City, California. A man shot his family, killing the two teenage daughters of his ex-girlfriend and injuring his ex-girlfriend and her son.

Sunday, June 12 – Littlestown, Pennsylvania. A man shot and killed his 9-year-old daughter, shot and injured his wife, and then shot and killed himself.

Sunday, June 12 – Chicago, Illinois. Two men were shot to death while sitting on a porch just hours after they attended the funeral for another victim of Chicago gun violence.

Tuesday, June 14 – Cleveland, Ohio. Two men started arguing at a gas station, prompting one of the men to produce a gun.  He shot and killed the other man, as well as an innocent bystander, an 18-year-old woman, as she ran for cover.

The GVA is the prophet crying out in the wilderness, pointing unflinchingly and honestly at the staggering fact that Americans are dying in a relentless hail of bullets in this country.

Blood is flowing in our streets. Weeping and wailing goes up throughout our land. The prophet cries “How long, O Lord. How long?”

“O God, whose heart compassionate bears every human pain, redeem this violent, wounding world till gentleness shall reign. O God of mercy, hear our prayer: bring peace to earth again!”

[Vs 4 of ELW Hymn #700 “Bring Peace to Earth Again”  Text:  Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.  b. 1923. Text and music © 1996 World Library Publications]


Continued reading … responses written by my colleagues to the Orlando, Florida shooting.

Click here for the pastoral and prophetic pastoral letter written by the Rev. James Hazelwood, Bishop of the New England Synod.

Click here for the personal and powerful response written by the Rev. Angel Marrero, my gay Latino colleague in Waltham, Massachusetts.