Once More

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Orlando, FL.  And that’s only a fraction of the various mass killings the United States has seen since I first took note of them on April 20, 1999.  I was four days shy of my 18th birthday and I came home to the news of high school students, my peers, teenagers just like me, killing their own classmates.  The thought of anyone the same age as myself capable of not only planning but carrying out such a horrific event changed the way I thought about the world forever.  At the time, I thought we could never again see such a heart breaking news story, but over the years I have repeatedly been shocked at the brutality some people in this world are capable of.

I awoke Sunday morning to the news of yet another mass shooting in the United States.  A lone gunman entered an Orlando night club around 2:00 AM and began methodically shooting and ultimately killing 49 innocent people, as well as critically injuring at least 53 more innocent people.  I don’t suppose I really need to go into the details, as this is a story that has now been discussed around the world and at this point we all know what happened.  I come here today not to go over the facts, as I am not really much of a reporter, but to hopefully sort out some of my own feelings on this event and try to find some way to understand how we can go on living in a world such as this without demanding changes to be made.

I won’t get political, it won’t get me anywhere.  I know where I stand on the issues and I know where a lot of other people stand on the issues, and it saddens me to think that there are those out there so easily swayed by anger, fear, hate, and ignorance.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I don’t feel it is fair to say anyone else’s opinion is wrong, however I will say an intelligent person bases their opinions on the facts of the matter.  That is, we gather what we know to be true and then make an informed decision on how that makes us feel.  Unfortunately, if one bases their opinions on lies or false facts, then yes, I can say your opinion is in fact wrong.

Too many ignorant people immediately jumped on the fact that the killer was Muslim, or at the very least had a Muslim name.  Without any additional information it was automatically assumed that this was an organized ISIS plot and somehow a terrorist from overseas had made it into our country and we now had to fear any and all Muslims. “Close the borders,” was the solution.  “Muslims are the problem,” was the chant.  “These people are destroying ‘our America.'”  “Build a wall, protect our people.”  All of this foolishness being spewed by the ignorant until low and behold, the killer was in fact one of our own.  Born in New York and raised in the United States, this lunatic was one of our lunatics, not one of ISIS’s.  Sure, in his rampage he claimed allegiance to ISIS, as well as a handful of other terrorist organizations, but it turns out he wasn’t directly connected to any of them.  He could just as easily claimed to be a Nazi. Yet somehow this anti-Muslim sentiment still exists.

I’m not an expert nor do I have any statistics in front of me to argue but I know in my heart that no good comes out of anyone owing an assault rifle.  Too many people are so quick to defend their right to bare arms here in the United States, as a means to defend themselves against mass murderers such as this.  Ignorant yet very outspoken individuals feel that if more people had been armed that night in Orlando, fewer people would have died.  I can not disagree more.  More guns only equals more deaths.  I can never envision myself owning a gun nor using one to shoot another human being, even in self defense.  More innocent people would have died at the hands of other innocent people trying to defend themselves.  I certainly don’t want the accidental death of anyone else on my conscience.  People are so afraid the government wants to take away their guns.  No, the government wants to keep the guns out of the hands of psychopaths.  The kinds of weapons these killers are using should never have found their way to them in the first place.  They are weapons of war, not self defense.

The more I learn about some of the people living in the United States, the more fearful I become for our future, but it’s not immigrants or the terrorists I fear, it’s the ignorant, hate filled members of our society who want to lynch first and ask questions later.  These irrational, heat of the moment decisions they want us to make are what will destroy all that the United States stands for.  I have said many times before, I don’t have the answers, but I can certainly see the problems.  I know the solution is not more guns.  The solution is not to close our country off from the rest of the world.  I know discriminating against any group of people, whether it be racial, religious, or sexual, will only push us backwards when what we need to do as a people is advance forwards.  Like I said, I don’t have the answers, but I can only hope there are those out there like myself who want to find peaceful solutions on how we can prevent more of this madness and move forward in a positive way in our society.

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~ by James on June 15, 2016.

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