WASHINGTON – Following two back-to-back mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., the Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Canon Missioner and Minister for Equity and Inclusion at  Washington National Cathedral, issued the following statement:


One week. Two mass shootings. Eighteen lives needlessly lost. 

After deadly massacres in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., it’s tempting to think that wanton gun violence is just the way America is, to think that this is just the cost of freedom, to think that there is nothing we can do to change it. 

As a nation we have grown accustomed to such cruel violence in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools and now, even our grocery stores. What used to shock us now seems entirely normal, even routine. We have grown numb to the pain and callous to this tragic loss of human life. 

In Colorado, the seven children of Officer Eric Talley no longer have a father. They are not alone: Nine other families lost a beloved sibling, parent, child or friend in that grocery store. The same is true in Atlanta, where eight lives were ended in a hail of gunfire.

In Georgia, the alleged gunman was able to buy his weapon on the same day of the shooting — no waiting period, only minimal background checks. In Colorado, lawmakers have refused to adopt a ban on assault weapons like the one suspected in the Boulder attacks. 

We and our elected officials could do more. But we and they choose not to. 

The sad truth is that we do this to ourselves. We allow ourselves to live this way and we fail to hold our lawmakers accountable. Our elected leaders allow this by failing to pass even the most commonsense of gun control measures. We could live differently, but as a nation we choose not to. 

Until we summon the collective will to fight this problem, Americans will continue to die from gun violence in levels that grieve the heart of God. And the only surprising thing will be that we are still surprised that it keeps happening. 

We can do better. We must do better. Enough is enough. 

“O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”


Tony Franquiz, 202-374-5393, [email protected]


About Washington National Cathedral
Grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people, conceived by our founders to serve as a great church for national purposes.