CITY ON A HILL

The title of comes from The Book of Matthew;

 

          “Ye are the light of the world. A city

            that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

                                       - Matthew 5:14

Presidents, writers, and speakers have often used the passage to illustrate the superiority of the American way and the paternalistic assumption that we set an example for the rest of the world. 

 

And yet, citizens of the United States accept public shootings, often motivated by religious persecution, homophobia, racism, misogyny, and stigmatized, ignored, and untreated mental illness as a way of life.   It happens in schools, religious centers, movie-theaters, malls, abortion clinics, night clubs, and street corners. I cannot know or fully understand all of the suffering. I have not experienced every layer of oppression, shock, or loss. The belief in our own powerlessness allows us to accept it. 

The soundscape includes interviews and coverage from shootings at Sandy Hook, Tree of Life Synagogue Pittsburgh, and Santa Fe High School, the Song of the Blessing of the Torah, Amazing Grace as performed by Liz Wright at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Mr. Bean laugh track, K-3 students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance for Dougherty School Open House Presentation, and the Blessing of Shabbat.

 

An Incomplete List of Shootings in the U.S.A.

Columbine High School, 1999 - 13 dead, 24 injuries, semi-automatic rifle

Virginia Tech, 2007 - 32 dead, 23 injured, semi-automatic pistols

Fort Hood, 2009 - 14 dead, 32 injured, semi-automatic pistol and revolver

Bermingham, 2009 - 13 dead, 4 injured, semi-automatic pistols

Geneva County, 2009 - 10 dead, 6 injured, semi-automatic rifles, revolver and shotgun

Sandy Hook Elementary, 2012 - 27 dead, 2 injured, semi-automatic rifle and pistol

Aurora, 2012 - 12 dead, 70 injured, semi-automatic rifle, pistol, and shot gun

Washington Navy Yard, 2013 - 12 dead, 11 injured, semi-automatic pistol and shotgun

Orlando Nightclub, 2016 - 49 dead, 53 injured, semi-automatic rifle and pistol

San Bernardino, 2015 - 14 dead, 24 injured, semi-automatic rifles

Las Vegas, 2017- 58 dead, 422 injured, semi-automatic rifles and revolver

Sutherland Springs Church, 2017 - 26 dead, 20 injured, semi-automatic rifle

Stoneman Douglas High School, 2018 - 17 dead, 17 injured, semi-automatic rifle

Thousand Oaks, 2018 - 12 dead, 12 injured, semi-automatic pistol

Pittsburgh Synagogue, 2018 - 11 dead, 6 injured, semi-automatic rifle and pistols

Sante Fe High School, 2018 - 10 dead, 14 injured, shotgun and revolver