When I think about the massacre in Orlando this past weekend, my heart breaks. The senseless loss of so many innocent lives is horrifying, but there are some aspects to this tragedy that are equally shocking.
I'm devastated for the victims, their friends and families. My heart goes out to them and I can only wish them love, peace and strength. I want to encourage everyone affected to seek help, whether in the form of emotional support from loved ones or with professional therapy. The more support, the better.
Now, I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that the assailant, an obviously deranged man, had been interviewed by the FBI not once, but twice, and yet was still not considered to be a threat. How could that have happened?
Even worse than that, I really can't understand how someone who'd been investigated on more than one occasion by the FBI was still able to purchase an assault rifle, with which he carried out his cowardly and monstrous acts.
I've been following the news, and what the intelligent, informed, experienced people are saying is that the motivations of this gunman were likely to be highly complex.
I'm dumbfounded by the fact that assault weapons are actually available to anyone other than the military or SWAT teams. What in heaven's name does an ordinary citizen need with an assault rifle? It seems to me that the name itself most aptly defines its function: assault.
I'm revolted, but not at all surprised, that the Republican presidential candidate chose to capitalize on this unspeakable tragedy to spout more of his xenophobic rhetoric and to "appreciate the congrats about being right" about it being a "terrorist" act.
It terrifies me to think that a misguided, misinformed, misogynistic, hyper-aggressive, ultra-narcissistic individual could be the future president of the U.S. Heaven help us if that ever comes to pass.
I've been following the news, and what the intelligent, informed, experienced people are saying is that the motivations of this gunman were likely to be highly complex. For example, he'd pledged allegiance to a number of different groups during the attack; many of which had contradictory philosophies.
It's important to note that the assailant, Omar Mateen, had been frequenting the club where he'd waged his attack, and had been on multiple gay dating sites. He'd spent much more time in the club than would be required for someone merely casing the joint.
For someone who supposedly hated LGBTQ people, he sure looked a lot like someone who was exploring these aspects of his sexuality.
Instead of seeing this man as a radicalized religious terrorist, we could consider the possibility that his ambivalence about his sexuality and his shame about his preferences made him despise and want to punish those people whom he desired. It certainly wouldn't be the first case of this happening.
I've been hearing some people ranting about the problems with religious extremists, when they were discussing this attack, and I found this to be tremendously distasteful, especially when it doesn't appear that religion was a significant factor. According to his first wife, Mr. Mateen wasn't particularly religious.
It's important to note that the majority of the recent "lone wolf" attacks on large groups of people in America have been carried out by individuals with mental disturbances; not by radicalized individuals from any religious groups.
Why are we not doing more to identify these mentally disturbed individuals and to make sure that they aren't armed, especially with, of all things, assault weapons?
I've learned, since the attack, that the U.S. has no program for de-radicalizing disenfranchised youth. Imams in the U.S. are taking it upon themselves to work with disaffected youth and to make sure that they aren't caught in the net of ISIS.
In England, there are programs in place to help young people who are tempted toward violent radicalism to redirect their energies toward something positive. Why can't something like that be set up in the U.S.?
It breaks my heart that the gun lobbyists will use this massacre as "evidence" of why we need more guns, not fewer.
Mateen was a man who brutally beat his first wife, whom he isolated and terrorized, and who had to be rescued by her parents. Today, she calls him "mentally unstable," and she should know.
Apparently, his second wife wasn't allowed to have a license or drive a car until just recently, and he also kept her away from her family, depriving her of their support. This isn't the pattern of a terrorist; it's the classic pattern of a sociopath and wife-abuser.
Tragically, there are a lot of very disturbed individuals in our society today. They're of every religion, colour and ethnicity. They're filled with rage and hatred, and they have a strong urge to be destructive.
The last thing we need is to put assault weapons into the hands of the most mentally unstable, deranged members of society, but inexplicably, that's exactly what we're doing.
It breaks my heart that the gun lobbyists will use this massacre as "evidence" of why we need more guns, not fewer. In fact, here in Canada where there are far fewer guns, there's a whole lot less gun violence than in the U.S.; even less than the population difference would explain.
Things are so polarized in the U.S. these days that the Republicans in congress refuse to cooperate with just about any initiative President Obama tries to put forward, and they're doing it just to be spiteful. No matter how hard the president tries to ban assault rifles, for example, congress stubbornly refuses to budge.
Who loses? Only the people being killed by those weapons that are ending up in the hands of these deranged assailants; only the victims' families, and friends, and colleagues, and society as a whole.
But hey, the Republicans in congress can continue to be spiteful and make it impossible for the president to do society a world of good. These congresspeople should be ashamed of themselves, each and every one.
I'm furious at the politicians, lobbyists and everyone else who continues to ignorantly insist that there's a good reason for people in this day and age to be armed to the teeth.
Study after study shows that owning a gun makes a person less safe, not more so. It's a proven fact. Pro-gun people can dispute it as much as they want, but it won't make it any less true.
I keep thinking, how many more people have to die before the insanity finally stops? Somebody in a position of authority has to stand up and say, "Enough!" I'm waiting desperately to hear who that will be.
Finally, I just want to say that I've always believed that love is the best thing in the world, and that it's what makes us better people and the world a better place. More love is always a good thing. I really don't care who loves whom, as long as they're bringing more love to the world.
Anyone who has a problem with two people sincerely loving one-another should just get over it, already. Love is not only meant for procreation; it's for creating connections, unity, harmony, peace, compassion and caring. It's 2016, for goodness' sake. The more love, the better.
Omar Mateen was a hater. He hated women, gays, Jews and blacks, among others. My response to this hateful person and to people like him? I'm telling everyone who'll listen to kiss the people they love that much more.
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