There really isn’t a great way to start this post off. It’s a sensitive topic. I’ve been sitting here with my fingers on the keyboard for 10 minutes now and have typed and deleted several times.
There was a horrific event that occurred in Orlando, FL this weekend…and if you DON’T know about it by now, you must be living under a rock. Even my iHEARTradio app on my phone alerted me to the news.
What I write here is a mix of information obtained through NBC news articles and my personal views.
I invite you to comment with your views on the subject. This should be an open conversation and I respect everyone’s view.
Around 2 AM, US citizen Omar Mateen stormed the Pulse Nightclub with a rifle and a handgun, both legally obtained. He also held legal, active security officer and firearm licenses, as he worked in the security business.
Before his rampage, Mateen called 911 and expressed his allegiance to ISIS (though there is no indication he was in touch with terrorists overseas or that this was a direct attack). According to his father, He had been visibly angered a few months prior after witnessing a gay couple kiss.
He had been investigated by the FBI on two occasions. The first in 2013, because of a statement he had made about radical Islamic propaganda. He was interviewed twice and the investigation was closed when it was determined he had no tied to radical Islam.
The second in 2014, he was interviewed again when it was learned he may have had ties to a US suicide bomber. Again, the investigation was closed after they determined that it wasn’t a substantial relationship.
The assault lasted until 5 a.m. when Orlando and Orange County Officers and Deputies stormed the nightclub and exchanged gunfire.
Mental health, ISIS, Gun Control….pick whatever soapbox you feel like standing on. It doesn’t change the fact that 50 people lost their lives and more than 50 are still fighting to keep theirs.
Whether you’re talking about Orlando, Blacksburg, or Newtown, or any of the other massacres that have occurred in the US over the last 50 years…one fact is the same. Innocent lives were taken. For one reason, or another…an individual got their hands on a firearm and decided that they were going to end lives.
There is such a fine line with cases like this…government agencies and anyone else involved will catch flack no matter what they do. You CANNOT outlaw guns. You CAN create new, reasonable gun control laws. There are too many law, abiding citizens who enjoy firearms for sport and pleasure that don’t put anyone’s lives at risk. You cannot demonize them.
Mental health in this country is another tough pill to swallow. It’s a delicate subject to some. How do you move forward with changes to the health system to ensure those who need help receive it? Do we incorporate their status on background checks for gun retailers? At what “severity” of mental state do you deny someone their purchase?
Even if they are denied purchase of a firearm, that doesn’t mean they won’t get one. Parents, friends, family, neighbors that own…they can take them. Especially if they aren’t locked up. Where there is a will, there is a way…this saying is unfortunately true. Adam Lanza took his mother’s guns, killed her and then went on to kill 26 more children and teachers. And if they can’t get a gun, it’s a knife; if it’s not a knife, maybe it’s a bomb. But we can’t outlaw pressure cookers…let’s be realistic here.
It really boils down to this: If someone wants to cause harm, they will. They will find a way to carry out whatever it is they want.
As a country, we need to stand together as one. Politics be damned. Race/Color/Creed be damned. We are Americans. This country is a great melting pot, and we need to preserve and continue to foster that. It’s what makes us so great. We need to look out for ourselves and our neighbors as we would our family. It’s the only way we’re going to be able to survive in this big, wide, crazy world.
My prayers go out to everyone affected by the tragic events that are continuing to unfold in Orlando. Instead of placing blame…move to love and forgiveness. Share compassion with your neighbors.
We’re all in this together.
- Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, FL, 2016
- 50 dead, more than 50 injured
- Omar Mateen declared ISIS allegiance, previously on the FBI watch list for comments he had made about terrorism (he was cleared)
- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 2007
- 32 dead, 17 injured
- Seung-Hui Cho was a 23 year old student at VT. NBC received a package from him days before the shooting ranting about rich “brats” at the school.
- Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT, 2012
- 28 dead
- Adam Lanza suffered from extreme mental health issues that went untreated. He was preoccupied with violence and had easy access to his mother’s guns.
- Luby’s Cafeteria, Killeen, TX, 1991
- 23 dead, 27 wounded
- George Hennard crashed his truck into the restaurant and started shooting. According to a former roommate, NBC reports, he “hated blacks, hispanics, gays. He said women were snakes.”
- McDonald’s, San Ysidro, CA, 1984
- 21 dead
- James Huberty lost his job and opened fire in a McDonald’s killing men, women and children.