Orlando Massacre Dedication
By Mark Boyer
I wanted to take time to respectfully mourn the loss of lives in the Orlando massacre, and I also wanted to take time to more deeply understand the background of this tragedy (and others). I observed the reading of names of all who lost their lives and participated in my own vigil with others around the U.S. and world. I think it is important to first note that U.S. history books frequently do not reveal the extent of tragedies because they have often been imposed by dominant culture on minorities, and there have been MANY massacres.
This particular murderer was clearly a “mentally troubled” and “conflicted” individual, and efforts had been made in the past by others to bring notice to potential danger. He may or may not have been a jihadi, and it is important for everyone to know there is a vast difference in beliefs among Muslims and jihadis. Just as there have been centuries of travesties committed by Christians under the banner of Christianity, many of us know that these acts were not representative of the true spirit of Christianity.
Therefore I am saddened to see misinformed generalizations about Muslims by politicians and the public that could have very unfortunate consequences for masses of innocent and good Muslims, and also enormous unfortunate consequences for the U.S. and the world. The U.S. has sometimes had a tendency to hastily misdiagnose problems and apply the wrong solutions, which has included wars.
I am also saddened to see individuals and organizations who have absolutely disrespected the LGBT community and their rights, and are now attempting to manipulate this tragedy to make a case against Muslims. Whenever the situation arises to oppose the LGBT community and their rights, many of these same people will also once again pounce on this opportunity. The objective is clearly an attempt to create a dysfunctional dominance among people who look, think, and believe the same. With the exception of the Native Americans, all of our families have been immigrants to the U.S. The true greatness of the U.S. is in its diversity. When we fail to recognize this, we often have greater internal conflict than any external influence.
Finally, just a brief comment about the controversy over guns: Although I am not a gun owner, I have no problem with people owning guns for hunting, recreational use, and self-protection. I do have a problem with assault weapons that can easily be used for mass killings and are not appropriate, in my opinion, for public use. Just as some states have adopted state flowers and birds, some states have begun to adopt state guns. The official state gun for Tennessee is the Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic rifle that is capable of shooting commercial aircraft out of the sky. I really don’t see why we should make these kinds of weapons available for public use, particularly at a time when mental health issues are extreme in the U.S. and when there is obviously no effective screening and clearance processes. I recently saw a posting that a girls’ volleyball team was giving away a Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic rifle as a fundraiser!
I write this in honor of the LGBT community and all who sadly lost their lives in Orlando. I also write this in honor of all, who in the past have sadly lost their lives out of hatred, ignorance, and intolerance. May we LEARN from these past tragedies, and become kinder and more caring human beings.
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