Payson residents who needed “to do something” in response to the two mass shootings within 24 hours this weekend, one in Ohio and the other in Texas, chose peace at an interfaith vigil on Aug. 5.

Carrying signs, battery-operated candles and glowing cell phones, more than a dozen residents sat in front of the former Carl’s Jr. to pray for a loving response.

“Can you imagine going to Walmart to pick up a box of crayons and getting killed?” asked one attendee.

So far, the U.S. has seen more mass shootings than days this year.

That is according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which reports as of Aug. 5, the 217th day of the year, there have been 255 mass shootings in the U.S. While no set definition exists for “mass shootings,” the GVA defines it as an incident where at least four people are shot. This does not include the shooter.

Pastor Sarah Allen from Payson United Methodist Church challenged those in attendance to “work together to be kind, loving and respectful.”

She acknowledged that many in Rim Country own or carry a weapon.

“We need to be conscious that many people have grown up with guns as tools, not weapons that kill people,” she said. “As a tool, a gun can make a difference.”

Allen once lived in El Paso and still has friends there.

She prayed for people to “take action in a loving way.”

“In the face of hatred may we show love,” said Worship Pastor Adriane Blanco from Mountain Bible Church.

The group sang “Amazing Grace” accompanied by Blanco as the sun sank into a pink sky and motorists honked their horns in solidarity.

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I cover the Town of Payson, courts, wildfire, business, families, non-profits, the environment and investigative reporting

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(2) comments

Paul Frommelt

Very well stated Phil!

Phil Mason

Everyone agrees that multiple murders are anathema to a free society. It is important with that foundation in mind that we address the root problem, not the obvious symptom. America has been transformed from a moral and ethical entity that was created by the Founders with a clear and stated reliance on God. Over the last fifty years, we have been constantly subjected to a war conducted by those who abhor God and morality. We have taken God and morality out of our classrooms, taken the Ten Commandments from our public buildings and been subjected to ridicule for believing that prayer should be a core part of healing. Instead, those who would destroy the life and liberty of the citizens in favor of government control of our lives and liberty have blamed our problems on the Second Amendment and the equal application of our Constitution and Laws. We have taught students that they will be punished if they bring morality into the classroom. We have instructed society that the advocacy of God, the placement of a cross on public property and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance are cruel acts and damaging to others. Then, to make sure we get the message there is the constant drumbeat that the gun is the problem. In fact, as was proven in Springfield Missouri yesterday, a gun in the possession of a law abiding citizen can prevent "mass" murders. The mindless attacks on guns instead of addressing the core problem - taking God and morality out of society and filling the eyes and brains of our youth with video games whose only common thread is mass murders - we convince good people that if we only take away everyone's guns everything will be OK. Note that in the picture that accompanies this article, Gilroy is prominently displayed. That event was carried out with a knife. To hype the story, the Gun Violence Archive tells the uninformed that Arizona has had five mass shootings this year. Those mass shootings include four events where one person was killed and one of those events was a homeowner who defended his life and the lives of his family against a violent home invasion.The real solution? Return God and morals in the instruction of our students. Note that I said God and morals, not religion. Enforce our laws and demand respect for those who form the blue line to defend and protect us. Restore a strong system that identifies and remediates mental illness. Teach everyone of the greatness of America, instead of focusing on its imperfections. Really for the first time fight AND WIN the war against drugs. Start by supporting and attending the event this Saturday at GVP by the Northern Gila County Community Drug Task Force. If we return to Americas founding principles e will start the revival of our society.

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