more thoughts. What? You didn’t really think I was going to say prayers, did you? Pray if you must. It can’t hurt but please don’t think it does any good, either. What can regular people like us really do in times like these to help? I suppose the first way is to give blood. Wherever you live, giving blood is literally giving life. Maybe register as an organ donor? These are real, tangible ways that we can help.
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The intangible ways that we can help. When tragedy strikes, we’re all filled with a wide range of emotions: grief, anger, fear, etc. It’s so easy, in this social media age we live in, to let our hearts do the talking before we let our brains catch up. I’ve certainly been guilty of it. We should all work to find common ground. We can’t agree on everything but surely, people of good conscience can agree on more than they disagree. We rightly get angry with Congress for their lack of action and productivity and their general failure to find common ground. It starts with us. We elect them, after all. Granted, gerrymandered districts do not help because we end up with politicians on the extremes. Anyway…
Every time something like Orlando happens, most of us pick a side. We pick one topic, point to it, and say this is the reason. For me, it’s guns. For others it’s religious extremism. It goes on and on. My point is that life is almost never black and white. It’s mostly grey. Or is it gray? Why does that color get two spellings?
Do you want to make our country, our world, a slightly better place? Of course you do. So do I. Let’s find a way to have a conversation about difficult topics in a reasonably calm, hopefully informed way. One of my best friends and I did that last night on the Face. It’s not that hard to do. It doesn’t mean you have to change your stances on everything but for fuck’s sake, maybe just have an open mind occasionally? Let’s let our brains win out over our hearts.
So why did this happen? Can we allow for the possibility that there are multiple factors in play? Let’s go down the list of major factors. If I leave some out, chime in with a comment.
- Extreme homophobia. Let’s not dismiss the fact that this was a hate crime. He almost certainly targeted this club on purpose. The killer’s father said that his son was very disturbed by two guys kissing in public, in front of his family. This is heartbreaking. Like many of you, I have many openly gay friends and family members. The thought that they have to live in fear simply for being who and what they were born as is beyond disturbing. Here’s a thought too. If you don’t want to see homosexual PDA, maybe get the heck out of South Florida? Move somewhere less …colorful.
- Mental instability. The killer’s ex-wife said that it was very clear to her, after living with him for only a couple months, that the guy was unhinged. I believe she said he was bipolar(I was reminded that being bipolar, in and of itself, is no excuse or reason. I should have been more clear. If the killer was bipolar and unmedicated, it may have been a factor) Whether or not that’s true, he was clearly unhinged. She says that he physically abused her. Assuming that’s true, I wonder if there’s a record of it? Did she file a restraining order or just get the heck out? I ask that because it leads to my next point.
- Guns. We now know the killer beat his ex-wife. We know that he was investigated by the FBI twice. He was able to recently buy two guns which he used to murder fifty innocent people and injure another fifty-three. That’s a bad look, any way you slice it, especially if there was a record of this spousal abuse. Let’s also look at the AR-15, which has taken its place as the mass murderer’s gun of choice. Please read about this gun here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/06/13/the-history-of-the-ar-15-the-weapon-that-had-a-hand-in-americas-worst-mass-shooting/ and tell me, if you can, why we need this weapon to be available to the general public. I have an open mind. Sell me. Read this too first, though. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/orlando-nightclub-massacre/ar-15-rifle-used-orlando-massacre-has-bloody-pedigree-n590581
- Radicalized religious nuts. The killer called 911 and pledged his allegiance to the bad guys. Was he one of them or just inspired, in his own crazed mind, by them? It’s unclear right now. How do we deal with ISIS? Do we continue to do what we’re doing or change tactics? I don’t know. I’m no foreign policy expert(neither are you) but let’s have a discussion. Should we send ground troops? Risk their lives to try to stamp these scumbags out for good? I don’t know. Do we officially declare war on them, as my Facebook friend suggests? I don’t know, maybe. Or does that legitimize them in some way? I don’t know. How does one carry out a war against an organization that is not in just one country? I don’t know.
My opinion is that these four main factors, and probably ten more that I haven’t written about, are at the root of why this happened. Hoping to get some good, well thought out, comments. I noticed that site traffic was unusually high yesterday, which means people are interested in reading what I have to say(thanks!). I purposely waited until today to blog about it. Best to get as many facts as possible before spouting off, right? Let’s use our brains for reason. Leave our hearts for music, like this song, which never fails to make me feel better.