Everyone in this country has been shocked by a massacre that took place Sunday night in Mejicanos, a suburb of San Salvador. At 7pm a bus full of people was boarded, almost certainly by gang members, who shot some people, then doused the interior of the bus with gasoline and set it on fire. Fifteen people have died, many remaining unrecognizable. Others who managed to get out are being treated in the hospital. Three other people were shot on a different bus in that area on the same night. Here, where everyone is used to the gang-related extorsions and killings, even to the frequent killings of bus drivers and conductors, this atrocity has shaken us all to the core.
What is the cause of such mindless and heartless violence? How can it be ended? There have been calls to institute the death penalty - as though fear of a death penalty would be likely to deter such an act, as though we could count on a police and legal system as finely tuned as that in the U.S. The violence last Sunday fell on the poor, as is usually the case here. God's beloved community here continues to suffer.