LIHUE — Hawaii hasn’t had a mass shooting since 1999 when a man opened fire at a business in Honolulu, killing seven people. But that doesn’t mean the recent tragedies across the nation don’t affect Kauai.
Spiritual leaders do what they can to console their congregants, but they agree that it isn’t an easy topic to discuss.
“We all have kids. We all have parents,” said the Rev. John Saville, who is retired but currently serves as All Saints’ Episcopal Church’s guest priest.
He said that after the recent mass shootings, he took a moment to mourn the loss of the victims with his parishioners. But he also encouraged them to be proactive.
“What we all can do is get our souls to the polls,” he said, quoting Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Nicole Sakurai, minister of Happy Science Kauai, said she also tells people to “pay attention” to what’s happening and potentially help find a solution.
“We need to understand the problem,” she said.
Sakurai said it’s unclear why so many hateful, fear-based and violent actions keep taking place.
“People don’t know how to look for inner peace,” she said.
This weekend, Sakurai hosted an event that honored not only the lives of those lost in the nation’s mass shootings but also the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the countless victims who tragically died in 1945.
“People are really hurting in our nation right now,” Sakurai said.
Pastor John Cabello of New Hope Lihue said people get caught up in politics and “pick sides.” But it’s more useful to be “cultivators, not conspirators.”
“We may not see eye-to-eye but we can see heart-to-heart,” he said, adding that it’s a time to “reach across the aisle” and be supportive of one another.
The Kauai community is already largely supportive and considerate of one another’s differences, which is why the Rev. Meiko Majima, minister of Kapaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, said she’s not worried about something of a similar nature happening on the island.
“I trust the people on Kauai. We’re in good hands,” she said. “I feel lots of love on this island.”
She added, however, that even “good people” can get caught up in a “negative spiral and do bad things.”
Rabbi Michoel Goldman of Chabad Kauai said that more peace could prevail in the community if children started their day at school with a “moment of silence.”
“It’s a way for children to begin their day with a meaningful moment,” said Goldman, who is part of a Jewish community that has been directly affected by mass shootings.
The “moment of silence” is “totally inclusive” and is a chance for children of any faith, as well as atheists, to take pause before their day begins and have a chance to reflect, he said.
“It’s not the entire solution,” he said, adding that it could be a good start to affecting societal change.
One underlying theme that every spiritual leader agreed upon was inspiring kindness, love and compassion.
“In all that we think, say and do,” Saville said.
Coco Zickos, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.