To the editor,
“… do you have a cure for a bad case of Weltschmerz accompanied by a serious variety of the Nihilism bug? In my quest for balm in Gilead following the cold blooded murders in Orlando, the path is being jammed by stupidity, angry and hateful words, opportunistic politicians of every stripe trying to make this their hot button tragedy for gain, religious nut cases, and a painful silence emanating for mainstream Christianity and I am worn out.
This is not the nation’s tragedy. This is not a radical Islamic attack on America. This was the slaughter of gay people by a monster. This belongs to every gay person you know. After a lifetime of fighting legal battles, hate crimes, and discrimination and winning repeatedly against the odds, the crazies are gunning for us. This was an attack on LGBTs first and foremost.
As usual the use of this nightmare for an end to a political agenda will happen and the underlying problem of assault weapons will be ignored: isn’t this the common wisdom? Well, not this time. The full political force of the gay community is going to take on gun reform. Once again, we will force the politicians to do the right thing or face a lonely has been life as an unlistened to lobbyist. I am so sick of the hatred that has been the soundtrack of my life for 63 years. Take a little time and let the gay men in your life know you are thinking about them. We are all mourning. If you do this, they will appreciate it more than you know.”
These words were written to me recently by a dear friend. The pain and frustration is palpable. I feel these words deserve at best, an attempt at a thoughtful, heartfelt and public response.
I want you to know that those of us who stand with you do so with humility and sorrow for all you have suffered and continue to suffer in an atmosphere that is laden with bigotry, intolerance, semantics that ring false and stars that are dimmed in silence. The voices that ring true tremble away into the cacophony of hate filled rants. But, the gains made cannot and will not be taken away or diminished in the aftermath of this tragedy. We will not and cannot allow it and we can do this without bloodshed.
What is most obvious and real to many of us is that any sect that uses hate or abhorrence of a natural and biologically proven disposition as a means to obliterate the very soul of a human being, is inherently lacking in the morality of truth and will ultimately self destruct. But before that, yes, “monsters” and “madness” will be spawned. How could it not.
The more we learn about this “monster” whose name was Mateen, there is some reason to think that he struggled from an early age with his own sexual and self identity, that he may very will have been gay but the dogma of the ideology under which he was raised could not allow that very essence of his being to be reconciled and self loathing, self hate consumed him, perhaps exacerbated by mental illness or aberration. We may never know what reality triggered his behavior. Does that excuse what he did? Absolutely NOT. But if we do not make the effort to understand, knowing full well he is not the first to have turned the self hate on others and ultimately himself … we are doomed to act out in other equally destructive ways to our own selves and others.
I do not need to be L or G or B or T to understand fear and unfathomable horror. I do not have to be L or G or B or T to weep those killed and those who are left behind and for those who shielded a friend or a stranger or led another to safety or to feel the shock of the medical staff overwhelmed by the sheer numbers that kept coming and coming and worked tirelessly to save and patch up … and spoke succinctly about the increasing severity of the wounds they are now seeing from weapons such as used by this man … their words are sobering and must be HEARD.
My own personal and ultimate question is this “When will we recognized that we are ALL related … brothers and sisters, sons and daughters … REGARDLESS … and as difficult as it is to accept … so was he. And that is why I DO think this is a national tragedy.
George Takei wrote this opinion on line and I wish to quote his closing paragraphs.
“In 2004, a 10 year ban on assault weapons ended due to a sunset provision in the law. America has since lacked the political will to renew the ban, perhaps because victims of mass shootings don’t tend to have friends in Congress, even when they are innocent school children.
Now this latest and most deadly attack has targeted a group that has spent the last few decades learning how to organize, fight for, and protect its rights. Perhaps, then, the next chapter of LGBT history might not be just about the struggle to gain equality for ourselves, but also how we might help lead this country towards a collective right to participate and live free of fear and terror, and ultimately toward a common-sense, permanent ban on weapons designed for mass slaughter.
Like it or not, this history and this obligation have been thrust upon us, and we must now rise to its challenge. If there is one group in this country with more will, more experience, and more tenacity than the NRA, it is the LGBT community.”
We have to STOP the EMPTY RHETORIC.
There is absolutely NO REASON for an assault weapon or arms of that ilk to be in the hands of ANYONE other than those in the Armed Forces. Yes, the argument can be and is being made that no matter how many laws there may be banning these weapons and enforcing background checks with consequences … a body who wants to commit such heinous and unthinkable acts of violence will find a way. But how can we know this will NOT make a difference if we do not try. It is a very Small Step that could have Large and positive fall out.
I, for one, believe the LGBT people in this country will be amazed at the numbers who will STAND WITH YOU. Count me among them.