Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mr. President: We Need You to Act

From Brendan Bunting O'Connor, at the Orlando Sentinel, "Dear Mr. President: We need you to act. It's your last chance":

President Obama, welcome to Orlando. We're honored to have you here during this awful time.

Your words of support have fallen on receptive ears this week, as we struggle to find meaning in our day-to-day lives after losing so many valued members of our tight-knit community. Your recent scorn for "politicians who tweet" really struck home. Thank you for being such a solid rock for us to cling to.

But we need more from you:

Orlando residents have had a few days to replace most of our initial shock and sadness with a constant, seething anger. An anger that frightens many of us, myself included. This man who stormed into our lives has shaken us to our core. Yes, our community should be commended for how quickly we have rallied together in the face of this violence — the response has been breathtaking. We're doing everything we can to clean up this mess, but we need you to do the same.

History has shown us that whenever an oppressed group becomes less so, there is always a backlash, and the queer community — the LGBTQ alphabet soup — is uniquely vulnerable to hate attacks. Even with recent strides in gay marriage (thanks, Obama!) and increasing acceptance of LGBT issues in popular culture, we are still being treated as "other," as objects of hate and ridicule. This hate crime could have happened anywhere, but it happened here, as John Oliver said, "At a Latin night at a gay club in the theme park capital of the world."

One man simply had to walk into a store and purchase a semi-automatic weapon, over the counter, like one would if he were ordering a pack of cigarettes at 7-Eleven. A type of gun so accessible that it has been used in multiple shootings across the country: Newtown, Aurora, San Bernadino, and now Orlando.

If children on a schoolyard are hitting each other with sticks, you take the sticks away. Yet, we are living in a society that is encouraging violence, and there is nothing keeping the next Omar Mateen from sauntering down to his corner gun shop to buy his own AR-15. Nothing, except maybe you President Obama — if you act with the agency granted to you by the American people and step in.

In my heart, I want to react to this shooting, labeled as an act of hate, with more hate. My gut is clenched, along with my fists, demanding some sort of answer. Some sort of retribution. Yet even as we all come to grips with the tragedy of losing so many beautiful friends, sisters, brothers and neighbors, we are hearing word that this man, Omar Mateen, may have been gay himself. And I really just feel sick. This young man reportedly joined us, in our safe spaces, possibly seeking answers, to reconcile who he was with what he had been told he was by his parents and his religion. And instead he returned with weapons to kill and to hurt.

I don't know the whole picture, but what I do know is this volatile man was investigated twice by the FBI for possible links to terrorism. That he had a history of violence. And that he was still allowed to legally purchase a weapon that allowed him to open fire on a building full of people. Just the night before, another man was able to walk into a concert venue and shoot a young pop star, Christina Grimmie. In the past few days, almost 100 people have died and more than 200 people have been injured due to gun violence in America, and that doesn't include Orlando...
That's very heartfelt, but the guy focuses way too much on the gun issue and not enough on the jihad issue. And Mateen didn't use an "AR-15." This is so far is one of the biggest lies in the whole sordid leftist debate following the massacre. See, Bearing Arms, "NARRATIVE FAIL: Orlando Islamic Terrorist Did NOT Use An AR-15."

Indeed, Senator John McCain is out with a brutal take down of the president. At AP, "McCain: Obama 'directly responsible' for Orlando shooting."