Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando--as if enough hasn't already been said

A few years ago a relative came to town to visit with one request: she wanted to go to a gay bar. So two or three of my girls took her—and I can’t remember if they took some guys with them or not. Was I worried? Yes, I was. Not about someone hitting on them-they’re big girls and can handle that. But about violence breaking out at the bar—the fisticuffs kind of violence. I never thought of the horror we saw in Orlando last night. But this was a small bar, not a sprawling nightclub.

So much has been said, so much of it spot on, that I am hesitant to add anything. But two points stick out in my mind: one was expressed on Facebook earlier today when someone posted that she hated to see this referred to as the record mass shooting, for fear that someone with hate or anger would think, “I can do better than that. I’ll show them.”

The other thought on my mind is sort of a “Here we go again.” After each of these mass shootings, Americans are outraged and vow to do something to prevent such atrocities. But time goes on and headlines fade, and nothing changes. I’m not sure what it will take to wake Americans to the fact that their chance to change things comes this November—Vote Out the NRA. So many have said today that there is no reason for assault weapons to be in the hands of anyone but the military, and I truly believe that’s where we must start.

In Texas, my two senators are wildly conservative and opposed to any gun legislation, so I feel stymied. But I will find a way to make my voice heard. I have seven grandchildren in school, from high school to elementary, and yes I worry about each of them every day. Nobody thought about gun violence when my kids were in school—it just didn’t exist. But we have had 988 mass shootings since Newton—and what has been accomplished to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally incompetent and others who shouldn’t have them? Not much.

I could argue until I was blue in the face about the weaknesses of the Second Amendment for today’s world, but I won’t even go there. Getting AR-15s and other assault weapons out of the hands of citizens seems more important.

Ask a family member left behind by the Orlando shootings.

No, this wasn’t a terrorist attack; it was not Muslim inspired. The shooter was a deranged man who hated LGBT folks. But why are we letting people like that have such easy access to assault weapons?

Jesus weeps tonight—and many of us join him.


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