First of all, welcome back from spring break.It’s with great sadness that we begin the second half of the spring term with news of a Goshen College student’s death. Millicent Morros, an adult GC student in the Organizational Leadership degree completion program, was tragically shot and killed on Monday morning in downtown Goshen.
While I did not know Morros personally, I have heard wonderful things about Morros from her friends and classmates, who wrote a piece for The Record perspectives page commemorating her life. They describe her as someone who loved to drink Diet Coke, laughed a lot and told it like it is.
I like the sound of this woman.
Part of what makes Morros’ death so sad for the Goshen community is not simply the fact that a valued member of our community has died, but the way in which she died. It’s always hard to accept death, but it’s even harder when the loss is the result of needless violence–particularly gun violence.
The issue of gun violence has exploded this year as citizens and legislators have responded to the December shootings of 26 innocent children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Since then, the Obama administration has placed gun violence prevention near the top of its agenda and Congress has debated the need for more restrictive gun laws. Just yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder urged the Senate to support universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
Gun violence is not just a nationally debated issue–the Goshen College community has responded, as well. In December, President Jim Brenneman penned his support for increased gun control laws by signing the Open Letter to Our Nation’s Policy Leaders, a document signed by 350-plus other college and university presidents across the country. Students, too, have debated the issue over Facebook, in the dorms and in the classroom.
But now, in the wake of Morros’ death, the issue feels particularly close to home.
As we remember and honor Millicent Morros, it seems an appropriate time to re-consider our gun control laws. Goshen College professes the core value of compassionate peacemaking–let’s use this conviction to (peacefully) fight for an end to gun violence.