On April 19, 1993, my friend Laurie Barry called me saying she heard the sound of many, many children screaming and crying. While she lived in Michigan at the time, as the news unfolded it turned out that what she heard, right at the time of the attack, was the sound of children screaming and crying in Oklahoma City during the bomb attack by Timothy McVeigh.

I never did sort out Laur’s ability to feel such things–they were part of her gift for empathy and prophecy. But today I join her in once again hearing children screaming and crying in the face of a terror no one–especially children–should have to face.

Their cry is matched by the cries of the 18-year-olds not so infrequently involved in loss of life on the side of the perpetrator–from this most recent shooter in Texas back to Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha. And of younger children having access to weapons with deadly results.

And whoever is carrying the gun, children are a prime target. As the Sandy Hook Promise site notes, “Guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens. 1 out of 10 gun deaths are age 19 or younger. (See https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/blog/gun-violence/16-facts-about-gun-violence-and-school-shootings/ quoting the US Centers for Disease Control.)

Over the seven year period 2014-2020, an average of 3800 children and teens were killed or injured by guns each year. (For these stats, see https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/ If this admittedly rising average stretched back to 1993, the grand total would be over 100,000 killed and injured screaming and crying children.

God puts our deafness to their needs, to their screams and cries, into words in Jeremiah 6:10
To whom shall I speak and give warning
That they may hear?
Behold, their ears are closed
And they cannot listen.

Or as Don Maclean put it in “Starry, Starry Night,”

They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will.