Memorial to the Lost

Memorial to the Lost
at Chester Eastside Ministries

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The American Dream

From Gregg Voltz, who runs Youth Courts in Chester Schools

Several years ago there was a shooting close to Chester High School and students were excited as you can imagine. My class had been discussing the American Dream. A student who was in my youth court that year raised his hand. He said that since we had been discussing the American Dream he wanted to share his opinion of what the American Dream was. 

He said, "The American Dream is when you can wake up in the morning, go outside and not expect to be shot." I will never forget the impact that statement had on me when I contrasted this young man's daily reality with the quite different-and safer-experience I had growing up in Indiana. It never crossed my mind as a young child that I could be shot walking to school.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Memorial to the Lost at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church

Swarthmore Presbyterian Church updated the Memorial to the Lost, and installed it last weekend, on Peace Day.  Above are some pictures.

Peacemaking Adult Education Hours during October are  (all begin at 9:45)

October 5th:  Walt Davis:  Core Themes from "Zionism Unsettled"  Walt will also preach that day- World Communion Sunday
October 12th:  Frank Grunseich:  Socially Responsible Investing
October 19th:  Susan Landau:  Handling Difficult Conversations

These events will be held in Loeffler Chapel at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church.
All are welcome!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In today's Delco Times: Yesterday's prayer vigil at Miller's

LOWER CHICHESTER — On what would have been her slain son Breon Burton’s 31st birthday Tuesday, Marshelle Johnson shared her own wish for a gun shop owner as she demonstrated outside his Linwood store.

“You don’t have to give up your business. Just do the right thing,” said Johnson, who was among a group of about 20 people gathered outside Miller’s Sporting Goods as part of a twice-monthly protest coordinated by the Heeding God’s Call faith-based gun violence prevention group.

Demonstrators like Johnson want store owner Joseph Miller to sign Heeding God’s Call Code of Conduct and by doing so, eschew selling guns to straw buyers. They used a recent court case to underscore their point.

Two weeks ago, a Delaware County jury convicted Staci Dawson, 22, of Chester, in the straw purchase of a gun for her ex-boyfriend. She was found guilty on charges of conspiracy, making false reports to law enforcement and illegally selling or transferring firearms to another person — which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence under the Brad Fox Law enacted in early 2013.
“We did tie a weapon to Miller’s, but there was no indication or evidence that Miller’s had committed any crime, or know that (Dawson) was going to give a weapon to a convicted felon” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said Tuesday night.

to read more, click here

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bryan Miller's letter to the Delco Times: Straw Sales must be Stopped

Kudos all around to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and his determined staff of prosecutors for gaining conviction last week of a Chester woman, Staci Dawson, for illegally buying guns for someone else (straw purchasing) and to the Daily Times for recognizing the importance of the story and reporting it.

D.A. Whelan showed how committed he and his staff are to fighting the scourge of gun violence that devastates Chester by refusing to bail out on the case and bringing it to trial even after an initial loss, and by stating in no uncertain terms that anyone caught in Delco straw buying will be fully prosecuted.

The Daily Times’ coverage was an exemplary public service, as it reported the heavy price to be paid for straw purchase convictions. Getting that information out there, as the Daily Times did, could well convince potential straw buyers that the risk of “buying and lying” to provide guns to someone else is not worth it, which could lead to fewer straw buys, fewer guns in the wrong hands and fewer gun injuries and deaths.
However, it is disturbing that, while according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives the greatest portion of guns recovered by law enforcement from crime reach the criminal market through straw buying from licensed gun retailers, such gun stores are almost never held to account, largely because laws make them difficult to prosecute.

This is why Heeding God’s Call’s, the faith-based and grassroots movement to prevent gun violence, seeks to persuade gun dealers to adopt a code of conduct to make it far less likely they would ever sell to a straw buyer in future. The current campaign of our Chester/Delco volunteer chapter includes twice monthly faithful public witnesses at Miller’s Sporting Goods in Linwood, the very gun shop that made the gun sale for which Dawson was convicted. Note that the Daily Times reported late last year of another case involving a straw purchase at Miller’s, so it seems logical to focus our attention on the store, in close proximity to Chester.

Heeding God’s Call’s Code of Conduct is ten non-burdensome business practices intended to discourage straw buying. They include background checks and training for employees, videoing of transactions, software to flag potential purchasers who have had guns recovered from crime, signage to discourage straw buyers and more. The code has been adopted by Walmart, the nation’s largest gun seller. If Walmart, then why not Miller’s and all gun retailers?
 We have sought to meet with Miller’s owner, but have been met with a stonewall of refusal and, frankly, hostility. So, we maintain our public witness at the store, where we pray, sing, hold signs and chat with drivers passing by. Join us.

Executive Director,

Heeding God’s Call


to read more, click here