Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Some Thoughts In The Aftermath Of The Orlando Shooting

Lots of people have been penning their responses to the recent mass shooting in Orlando. People are scared and angry. Some are trying to be positive by focusing on the good things that happen as a result of tragedy. For me, it’s too early for that. Because I’m still angry.

I’m angry that this attack could have been prevented if this person, who was twice investigated by the FBI, wasn’t able to get a handgun, and an assault rifle so easily. If he hadn’t been able to waltz into a local store, just a few days before the incident, and purchase these deadly weapons, some, if not all of these people would be alive now.

Some will say that he would have found another way to kill. Would he? Was he really that creative? Others will say that he could have killed people with a knife. 50 of them? And still others will say that if a “good guy with a gun” had been there he would have been stopped. Really? Because it took cops hours to stop him, and what better “guys with guns” are there than cops?

But, because this is America, I’ve been through these feelings before, and I will go through them again. The NRA is a powerful organization, and has brainwashed many into believing that they will be safer with guns, and that any attempt at “gun control,” translates into the government taking everybody’s guns and leaving the populace helpless.

Well, guess what? We are helpless. We are helpless to the gun manufacturers who don’t allow people to sue them. What other industry has that kind of power over the people? What happened to fair trials, and innocent until proven guilty. If they believed that their product was helpful, or, at the very least, not catastrophic, why would they ban people from being able to sue them?

We are helpless to the mighty dollar. The millions of mighty dollars that go into the politicians pockets when they endorse the gun lobby. What’s a few dead pre-schoolers, church-goers, or gay people, against millions of dollars?

The corruption makes me sick because it is personal. I have kids. And I have to send them out into the world, knowing that because of greed, and a huge misinterpretation of what the second amendment really is, I can’t be certain that my kids won’t get gunned down by some maniac. Or a non-maniac who is just having a bad day. Unless you can tell me that you have NEVER done something that you regret, then you can’t tell me that you could make a “mistake” with a gun. I’ve seen how people drive, that’s all the proof I need that people can’t be trusted with deadly weapons.

But most of all, I’m angry at the selfishness of gun owners. The way that they hold on, so tightly, to their little toys, even when ALL of the research shows that better laws would make for a safer society. They say things like, “criminals don’t follow laws,” as a justification against better gun laws. So, why do we have any laws at all then? Why do we have stop signs? Why not just let everyone do whatever they want since criminals don’t follow laws anyway.

You see, none of it makes sense. When you really think about it, all of the pro-gun arguments are actually ridiculous. But people don’t care, because they are afraid that their toys will be taken from them.

I’m teaching my kids to share their toys. And I’m teaching them that guns are dangerous. I don’t let my kids play with swords or toy guns. They don’t pull animals tails either. They are learning that violence is NOT the answer. They are learning that war is NOT the answer. And they are learning that strength comes from within, so they will never have to feel that without a gun they are less safe.

In the moments when the anger about the gun debate fades, I am incredibly sad for ALL of the families of those lost in mass shootings. It feels so wrong, and so unjust when more and more families continue to experience these tragedies, in this, country, which is supposed to be the home of the free. I honestly can’t imagine the depth of their pain. And each day, I pray I never have to.