In the wake of the mass shooting of over 50 LGBT humans in Florida I wanted to say something, anything about it, but I was unsure of WHAT to say. Reflecting on it, horrified by it, and realizing that at anytime, anywhere it is a possibility that a person could be part of this scenario. Especially if it is a hate crime, directed at someone who is part of the LGBT community. As a lesbian who could very well have been at such a club, it horrifies me to realize that someone who objected to my sexuality decided to make a very public statement in a grandiose way and could snuff out me and my friends and allies lives in a moment of impulse on their part.
In doing some research for this blog I decided to go back to some of the basics:
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “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.”
Okay, I get it. In order to keep us free of an overbearing government we can and do have the right to bear arms. However, as much as I believe in the freedom of this to protect oneself, one’s property, one’s family…you can have a gun. Having grown up with three brothers and a father who hunted, I’ve always been around guns, I’ve shot them, I’m pretty damn good at it (or I was). I even alarmed a husband whose fixation on guns because of his job was upstaged by my superior marksmanship. I am not afraid of guns. I am afraid of those controlling a gun. I’ve seen people such as my ex-husband who seem to idolize the ownership of a machine whose function is to propel an object from it at such a velocity with the intent to kill. He even bought a revolver with an overly long barrel because of some show where the gun actually talked to the main character through the barrel, animated to make it appear to talk, (rolling my eyes here). While a clever plot, it also minimalized the deadly force a gun actually is. I personally AGREE that we should have the RIGHT to own a gun, to protect ourselves. I personally do not own a gun and have no need in my mind to own one at this time, not that my opinion wouldn’t change at some point. I do not however understand the need for a display of them in the form of hunting guns or to stockpile the deadliest we can find and own. If you have one, why do you need dozens, or one that is so deadly that you can take out an entire nightclub?
I found out while researching the AR-15 to understand more about an assault weapon that, in Florida, it’s easier to purchase this assault weapon than it is to get a pistol. Does this make sense to others? Please explain why you would need such a weapon? Do you really need something like this to defend your home? Do you need something like this to hunt? Really? Being able to shoot rapidly and with clips, obscene amounts, do you really need such a weapon?
I think it is long past time for regulations of such guns. It isn’t JUST the 20 mass shootings in the past going on here in the United States. It’s the fact that when our forefather’s drafted The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution they were talking about a musket, not a high powered rifle that could shoot 130 rounds. That is something that the military should have, not every day people defending their homes. A gun, a pistol, is every bit as good for such a scenario. Why in the hell would you need such an assault rifle? To own one? To say mine is bigger than yours? Why?
The whole scenario that happened in Florida is such that it is set to create fear in the LGBT community. We should stay hidden, we should not expect equal rights, we should stay home? Last I checked I was a human first, a woman second, and a lesbian third. My rights are every bit as important as a straight, heterosexual male who decides or judges two people based on their sexual preference. What gives him ‘more’ or ‘superior’ rights to judge others? One news report stated he had seen two males kissing. What is wrong with this? Does their homosexuality really infringe on his heterosexuality? Did it disturb him so much that killing all these people, dying himself, solved the problem that he had with it? They didn’t ask him to participate, they didn’t infringe on any of HIS rights, why should he judge that they did and take it out on so many innocent people? This unbalanced individual, as we begin to hear more and more about him, had many warning signs that he should never have owned such a gun.
Next month I am traveling to Washington D.C. for the Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual meeting of LGBT authors. Should I not go because as a lesbian I will have a big target on my forehead? Should I not go because as a woman I will have to worry about being hassled or even assaulted? Why does anyone else’s opinions about what I ‘should’ or ‘should not’ do matter? I should really be able to go anywhere in my own country where freedom is supposed to be paramount. How can anyone tell me I can’t do something because of something I was born with, be it my sex or sexual orientation?
While these politicians give lip service to how their ‘prayers’ are being sent to those victims of the Orlando Massacre, I personally find that hypocritical. What about the separation of church and state? Your prayers Mr. or Ms. Politician do nothing to change the fact that if certain lobbies give you enough money you ignore the basic reason that these things occur. They fund the fact that they want their guns or anything else they can afford to push on the American public. In this case, a gun that should not be on our streets. Because the right to own one is covered in our constitution from a time 200 years ago, you continue to ignore the fact that it’s killing not only Gay’s and Lesbians, but PEOPLE from children to adults. You continue to take blood money, and yes it is blood on your hands, because you might lose office to be unpopular.Tell me who the unpopular legislators, politicians, and leaders are who are willing to stand up to these lobbies who continue to push their agenda’s and put unsafe things into unstable people’s hands? I will personally support them in their open agenda of stopping these obvious and horrific rights on items that have changed over the course of 200 years.
Owning a gun should not only be a responsibility for those who have proved that they are mentally stable for such a responsibility, but it is and SHOULD be a privilege and they should prove they can handle that. Allowing these types of guns should be a crime…against those who sell them, those that push them, and those that ignore the real fact that people are dying because they make these decisions.
I read a news report that claimed the man who did the shooting was part of Isis. I do not know if this is true or not. I read another news report that Isis already claimed responsibility for this horrific act of violence. As it targets my brother’s and sister’s of the LGBT community I have to wonder if it is a terrorist act or a hate crime? What does it matter really? There are already over 50 people DEAD due to a senseless act of violence. We can speculate to death what terms to use. There are 50 FAMILIES that will never recover from this. As a victim of a senseless act myself in the past, I know, the family never completely recovers, you never forget, and while you move on, it is always there, always remembered. When another such act happens, and it will until things are changed, laws are changed, and people like this are forbidden the right to own such vehicles of mass destruction, these families, each one of them will experience the same fear, the same hurt. Why perpetuate this in ever widening circles of despair? Why allow the fear and the hurt to continue? Greed is not good in this case, the right to own a gun is not the pervading right here. To cause such fear, to try and take away my rights is not going to stop me or others. I don’t have to have a gun to make people stop, I have a vote, I have a voice.
When I first started hearing these reports I was angry. While I’m a small voice in the wider scheme of things, I hope my anger expressed here at least gets some to think. Gets some to act. Lip service isn’t enough. Let’s start voting those who take money from lobbies out of office, in fact, let’s make these lobbyists and their agenda’s as illegal as assault weapons should be.
To those who I do not know, but I know your pain, my heart bleeds for you. I cry as I type this.