Yet another tragedy at the hands of a deranged gunman has struck the country. This time, the violence broke out at a gay club in Orlando, FL, USA. Like previous shootings this year, an American citizen armed with an assault rifle opened fire on unsuspecting victims for the sole purpose of heartless slaughter, which is why he chose an assault weapon—designed for that exact purpose.
I firmly believe regardless of reasons a person commits such a crime in part, is that their death grants a narcissistic wish--they want to become famous. They want their name to become a house hold name, that everyone and their grandmother says as they talk about the tragedy that they have rained down on the lives of innocent people. As such, I refuse to use the name or picture of the person that has committed this heinous act of violence.
Not only is it a heinous act of violence in its own right, it is also an act a Terrorism (as he pledged his elegance to ISIS in a 911 call right before carrying out the attack, and ISIS has also claimed responsibility for the act). It is a hate crime as it was targeted at the LGBT community in a gay club during LGBT pride month. The shooter gunned down 50 innocent club goers and wounded another 53, and took about 30 more as hostages until the police finally took him down and freed them. Making this the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Of course, the president once again after a massacre went on national television to give his most heart felt sympathies to the families of the victims and the community as a whole. He expressed the sympathies of the entire country and to assure them that the full force of the US government would be used to figure out why this senseless act happened. He went on and to mandate whatever it is that those effected need in the after math of such a tragedy. He once again called for the nation to come together and take action to end the gun violence. Violence has brought this tragedy and so many others like it. Obama wants to make it harder for tragedies like this and the ones that came before from happening again, he made it clear that inaction is a choice to. Inaction is a choice to say that it is ok for children, and teachers to be mowed down in their school classrooms, college students, and professors to be mowed down on our campuses, for movie goers to be mowed down at the cinema, and for club goers to be mowed down enjoying a night out on the town.
It seems though that all that have died in this ever increasing wave of gun violence have died in vain, and those that have died in this onslaught are going to as well. As it seems we as a country have given up on trying to make things better that we have found it acceptable for these sorts of things to happen. After Sandy Hook, where elementary school children and their teachers where mowed down in the class room, not a single new law, regulation anything came out of that tragedy.
As a country, through our inaction, we have declared that such an events are ok. We chose for it to be an acceptable price to pay, for our freedom to bear arms, even if they are arms that our founding fathers could have never imagined in their wildest nightmares. They could not have imagined in their day where it took several minutes to reload a gun, where a gun only held one shot, and even a rifle had an accuracy range measured in yards, that there would be a day where you had a gun that could hold hundreds of bullets at a time, and discharge those bullets in a matter of minutes and that it would only a matter of a couple minutes to reload it and fire again. That such guns that have no value in hunting, (or self-defense) and would be so wildly available and easily accessible by any one. That they would be used to perpetrate such mass shootings on such frequent time frames, it is inconceivable they would not have put limitations on such weapons themselves. Yet as a culture up to this point we have accepted that the price we are willing to pay, is for scours of incent lives to be laid to waste in tragic shooting after tragic shooting.
The thing is there really is no hope that this shooting is going to change any of that. Elementary school kids did not, why would a club full of LGBT people make a difference? The political party that is dragging its feet on addressing the prevention of gun violence is also the party that actively seeks to remove civil rights from those in the LGBT community. They often demonize the LGBT community as well. The Republicans have found themselves in the awkward position of having to make some sort of acknowledgement of the fact that the deadliest mass shooing in US history took place.
Each of their statements has erased the fact the shooting happened at an LGBT club and that it was the LGBT community that was attacked. Which should come as no surprise as a sizable number of those in the community think that LGBT people should be punished by law, and that being LGBT should be against the law, let alone the fact that they actively court voters who feel that way and all the way up to feeling that LGBT people should be killed. As a party, they actively work to deny LGBT people their rights, from the right to marry, to the right of equal work place protections, from the right to use the bathroom to hate crimes protections. They seek to marginalize the gay community and paint its members as outsiders, as not like the rest of society, and paints us as dangers to said society. It is blatantly clear to anyone that there is no snowballs chance in hall that they are going to latch on to this, and use this tragedy to help steer the country towards sensible gun laws that when broken down the vast majority of the general public approve of. There is no way that if they did not take up that mantel on the deaths of children that they are going to even come close to taking up that mantel on the deaths of LGBT people, the very people they have painted as Pahari’s and threats to the country, and the “American way of life”.
Instead what we can expect is what we have now a minor out pouring of crocodile tears, which in the process erases who the victims of the tragedy where, in the hops that soon, it like the tragedies before, it blows over and gets taken over by something else in the new cycle. Because for them to have to come out and use such a tragedy to push for changes, they would have to acknowledge that what happened was truly a problem. In doing so however they would be forced to confront the fact that while the body counts may not be as high the problem of violence perpetrated against the LGBT community is one that is very real, very prevalent, and has only increased in the face of recent victories in the gay rights movement, specifically the wining of the right to marry. (As those that oppose us are becoming much more willing to act out in violence as they see the legal tide turning against them.) This is something that is not likely to happen as it will be toxic to the narrative that they have built up for decades now around LGBT people ,around our rights ,and our movement to obtain those rights. Doing so would poison, the support that they have garnered from those whom oppose gay rights, the gay rights movement, and gay people in general. A group that they have formed into being an increasingly important part of their party base, as to an extent they have abandoned true conservative values (those represented by Eisenhower) they have built up a pretense of conservatism by being socially conservative and aliening themselves with the religious wing of the party, in an effort to garner votes and supporters.
All of this dooms this tragedy to go down as just another in a long list that is only going to get longer, and the identities of the victims getting erased in the process. Because until the time comes that enough voices rise in a call to make changes, to do what it takes to prevent these crimes, to say the victims did not have to die in vain. That their deaths sparked a movement which forced the politicians in Washington, DC and in state capitals across the nation to put into place stronger regulations. Nothing is going to happen until those voices rise and drown out those of the do nothing politicians. When those voices in no uncertain terms tell those politicians they need to be a part of the change, and to make the change happen or they will find someone else occupying what used to be their job, someone who is willing to fight to make the changes, and willing to do what it takes. It is only then that change will come about. This is why we need to put pressure on those politicians and to get our friends, family, co-workers, everyone and anyone that we know to do the same. Because until we do, we will get the same results we have now. We will get crocodile tears, maybe the line that we need to wait till we know more, or it’s too soon to do anything because feelings are still too raw, kicking of the can down the road, down a road that never comes because by the time it’s not “too soon” and feelings aren’t “too raw” there is a new issue occupying the headlines a new issue that they can distract with and point to as being much more urgent then preventing the senseless deaths of people just going to school, to the movie or having a night out on the town. One can hope this will be the moment that shocks people out of their acceptance of the cost of the right to bear arms as it is practiced now. I sure do hope that this is the moment, but if it is, it is going to be even more of an uphill battle then any of the other moments that have come to amount to nothing.
To make this the moment is going to take resolve and a willingness to not let this fade into the background, to only be brought up again as part of a list the next time. A resolve to keep holding your elected official’s feet to the fire demanding they take action, and demanding to know what actions they have taken. To be willing to let them know that you will not vote for them if they do not take action, that you will support an opponent that is willing to take action, that your vote is not a safe vote, unless they act. This is not something that is easy, it is hard, but nothing in life worth doing has ever been easy. Ultimately it is like the message President Obama put forward in his speech in response to these events it’s our will wither something gets done about this or wither nothing gets done at all.