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It Starts With Us: Choose Love
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It Starts With Us: Choose Love


I have been watching a lot of TV lately as this time of year is particularly my favorite with the playoffs happening. As I was watching the Buffalo Bills game on Jan 2nd, I was stunned like most, as Damar Hamlin collapses on live TV. As someone who has coached football for over 40 years, I have never seen anything like this before. But what surprised me most was the miraculous recovery of the Buffalo Bill’s Safety thanks to the lifesaving actions performed by the Bills' athletic team, the medical staff at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and at Buffalo General where he was later transferred. And to then learn that after just nine days he was able to go home from the hospital is nothing short of a miracle.

It is crazy to think that in just a few short days you can see the best of humanity; thousands and maybe even millions of people hoping and praying for a speedy recovery of a beloved player, to the worst of someone as innocent as a 6-year-old child intentionally pulling the trigger of a gun to critically injure their teacher. You see stories like this so commonly that we are now desensitized to the horror of it all. You switch on the TV and the first thing you see are the details of the most recent murder. To think that we as a society have whittled down the gift of life to mean so little that we easily take it away with the pull of a trigger over meaningless disputes. The need for love and prayer has never been greater. In 2023 we need to reinvest in our humanity and change the way we handle conflict and respect. Maybe this should be a goal for all of us in this new year; to restore respect for human life.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of serving as the Chairmen of the Project Exile Advisory Board here in Rochester. Since September of ’98, I have been able to meet and work with amazing people from both local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with the common goal of reducing gun violence in our communities. I am sure, despite our efforts, that we as a society need to do better. We need to embrace the message of choosing love and not guns, to reinvent how we choose to handle conflict.

The NFL has allowed players to choose a message that can be placed on the back of their helmets. Josh Allen, the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, decided to put “choose love”. It can get much simpler than that. Everything in your life can be replaced, a watch, a TV, jewelry but when a trigger is pulled, that is forever. I think about what would happen to our society if we put our love for our fellow humans above our greed and egos. I hope that each person can look inside themselves this year and we can come together to better respect the sanctity of life and try to turn to love to our solve issues.

I put it as simply as I can; THE VIOLENCE NEEDS TO STOP.

I no longer want to read in the paper of a young boy intentionally shooting their teacher or a person killed for meaningless material things. As we have seen with Damar Hamlin the power of prayer and hope is strong. I think if we look inside ourselves, we will see the strength of love and hope for a better society.

We each have the power to end this epidemic of violence and it starts with us.


If you would like to learn more about ending gun violence, please visit the resources below:

God Bless,