The members of the Soka Gakkai International-USA Buddhist community send condolences and deepest sympathy to the loved ones of those killed and wounded in the tragic and senseless act of violence that occurred Sunday night in Las Vegas. We commend the police and emergency services personnel who responded and continue to provide their professional support.
It may be perfectly understandable to go numb to the tragedy of the multiple mass shootings our country has experienced. After all, how can one make sense of this nightmare repeating itself, seemingly without end? Whether an elementary school in Newtown, a shopping mall in Oregon, a temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Aurora, a nightclub in Orlando, or a music festival in Las Vegas, the pain is overwhelming; but we will not go numb. We are horrified.
It is not normal. It is unthinkable. As individuals and as a society, we must reject modes of thinking that diminish the dignity of human life. We must not allow senseless violence to define our era. This is our challenge. As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has stated:
The real struggle of the 21st century will not be between civilizations, nor between religions. It will be between violence and nonviolence. It will be between barbarity and civilization in the truest sense of the word.
We must come together to take meaningful action in all spheres to prevent more tragedies like this.
As members of the SGI-USA Buddhist community, we mourn the victims of this tragedy. But more importantly, we will honor their memory by renewing hope and taking unstinting, relentless action to move the people and society of America toward the construction of a culture of peace.