I’m tired of writing about tragedies happening in America. Last summer it was the filmed cases of police abusing their power. This summer, it’s the sickening frequency of mass shootings occurring in this country. I have gotten to the point that turning on my computer or listening to my radio, things that used to keep me entertained, now fills me with quiet dread.
In the last week our country has been rocked with frightening news. From the Stanford athlete who received a light slap on the wrist for raping an unconscious woman to the mass shooting in Orlando, bad news has dominated our world. Everyone is chiming in with their opinion, and I am taking this opportunity to do the same. I am choosing to focus on the shooting in Orlando at this time, but that doesn’t mean I won’t chime in on other issues at a later date.
I don’t care who you love or who you marry. I was married for eleven years once and I don’t understand why anyone would want to do that on purpose, but if you want to get married, I don’t care who you marry.
I grew up during a time in this city when the young men from the suburbs found it quite entertaining to go to one of the well-known hangouts for homosexuals and “roll the fags.” For those of you with a more enlightened mindset, let me translate for you: they’d go beat up the gay men who went to this place to meet. There was no provocation by the gay men, they simply offended the young men by existing and trying to meet each other. This trend disgusted me and I could not conceive of why this was considered fun or necessary.
I thought we had come a long way from those days when the marriage equality act passed last year. Then, there was Orlando. A homophobe, who happened to be a regular at Pulse, a gay nightclub, walked into the club and in a matter of a few hours, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. The only crime the patrons of Pulse committed was to be in what they considered to be a safe place celebrating a lifestyle that the shooter was too homophobic to look at in himself.
I don’t care if you choose to own or carry a weapon. If you feel you can only defend yourself or your family with a gun, that is your right. Just don’t bring it around me. I have had the dubious pleasure of wrestling a loaded gun out of someone’s hands and it left me with a strong distaste for weapons and an even stronger awareness of how dangerous they are.
I have been told that as a single woman I should keep a gun in my home to protect myself. I have looked deeply into my own heart often enough to know what I am and am not capable of. I could not look at another human being and pull a trigger. Even if I wanted to, I would hesitate and that hesitation would put a weapon into the hands of someone who would probably not share my hesitation.
I don’t care if the military uses automatic weapons in combat, but I care that these weapons stay out of the hands of regular citizens. The military’s job is to defend this country by whatever means necessary. Individual citizens have no need for that level of weaponry and the fact that it’s so easy to purchase this level of weaponry is appalling to me.
The AR-15 is the weapon of choice for the madmen who have killed indiscriminately in mass numbers. The latest shooter in Orlando was originally thought to have used the AR-15, but it was later discovered he’d used a Sig Sauer MCX, which is technically different, but functions much the same. According to RollingStone.com:
Experts attribute the AR-15’s popularity to its image, its ease of use, its nominal recoil and the rate at which it fires. It’s semi-automatic, meaning it can release bullets as fast as the shooter pulls its trigger, and can continue firing until the magazine is empty.
Nicole Hockley, who lost her child in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, explained the gun’s appeal another way: The man who killed her son, she said earlier this year, “chose the AR-15 because he was aware of how many shots it could get out, how lethal it was, the way it was designed, that it would serve his objective of killing as many people as possible in the shortest time possible.”
I don’t care how many times you claim owning a gun is a right that is protected by the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment was adopted in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. At that time muskets were the arms of the day and they were slow to load and inaccurate to shoot. Our forefathers had no way at that time of predicting what advances technology would make in the manufacture of arms.
Those that lean on the 2nd Amendment as an argument against gun control also seem to have lost sight of the original intent of the document. The original intent was to prevent the States from being forbidden to protect themselves. The exact wording of our 2nd Amendment is:
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
In addition, I would be derelict to not mention that the same writers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights also believed all men were created equal; as long as you were a white male. They had no problems forbidding women, blacks, Indians and other minorities from voting or owning property. They were also comfortable with any of those minorities being beaten or killed if a white male deemed it necessary.
I do not believe that just because you were investigated by the FBI you should lose your rights as a citizen. That thought process is a little too reminiscent of the McCarthy era for my taste. Through the years, many an innocent person has been investigated. As of this writing, it’s still not a crime to be investigated. The FBI has made a lot of mistakes throughout its history, but not arresting the Orlando shooter does not seem to be one of those mistakes. You stil have to have evidence of a crime to arrest someone.
Like many people in America, I am sickened by where we stand as a society today. I have no solution to cure all of the ills of today’s world; I do, however, believe that if we restrict who can purchase a gun and what type of gun they can purchase, we will be taking a huge step in the right direction.
You may or may not agree with my beliefs, but I hope you appreciate the thought processes went into them. I may or may not agree with your beliefs, but if you can state them thoughtfully and with intelligence, I will be happy to listen to them. Yelling, screaming and pointing fingers have never solved problems. Healthy discussions can.