Where do we go from here? Some thoughts on guns and zealots

shooting scene

I don’t even know where to begin. Fifty people dead at the hands of a religious zealot in Florida and everyone wondering how this could happen.

I do have some thoughts on how this came about, and what we might do as people of conscience.

First of all, understand that Muslims are not the only religious zealots. So-called Christian zealots who denigrate LGBT people are as much at fault as Muslim zealots.

Zealots of any stripe are dangerous. Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and a “Christian.”

So this man was a zealot who happened to be Muslim. It is not a reason to hate all Muslims, and be assured that the majority of Muslims are not happy with this man, who, by the way, I refuse to name. He doesn’t deserve the publicity.

Next, every one of us who supports restrictions of any kind on LGBT people can share in the blame for this. Did you vote for Amendment One in North Carolina? That was a vote to deny LGBT people equal rights under the law. And if your religion is the reason you voted for Amendment One, you need to go back and read about the separation of Church and State in the Constitution.

Do you support the bathroom restrictions in North Carolina’s Hate Bill 2? Then you support singling out people who pose no threat. You also support further marginalization of an already marginalized group of people and you target them for harm by making them “less than” or “other.”

These kind of actions feed the hate of zealots, makes them feel more comfortable in their hate, and in their mind, justifies it.

My late sister was married to the love of her life, who also happened to be a woman. Her marriage in 2007 was one of the happiest days of MY life because it allowed her the protections that come with legal marriage. She deserved that as much as any straight person I know.

Next, let’s talk about support of the NRA and its extremist agenda of assuring unfettered access to guns for everyone.

Not everyone should have a gun. Mandatory background checks and regulations specifying who can not have a gun are a necessity if we are going to keep people safe.

The man who killed 50 people and injured 53 more in Orlando was on the no-fly list because of suspected terrorist leanings, but he was able to buy a gun capable of that carnage. A friend on Facebook asked why this guy wasn’t on the FBI’s radar, but he was; he was just able to buy that gun because the NRA has bribed so many members of Congress that we can’t even have a law denying a gun to suspected terrorists.

And please don’t give me crap about Second Amendment rights because you’re probably one of those people who voted to restrict the rights of LGBT people to marry, and that’s a violation of their First Amendment rights. You can’t worship the Constitution in pieces — you either want the rights it conveys or you don’t.

You also need to realize that the Second Amendment conveyed the rights of gun ownership within “a well regulated militia,”  not unfettered access to every weapon ever devised.

Perhaps we need to start listening to reason. Perhaps we need to start showing respect for each other and listening to real concerns on both sides.

I don’t want to take everyone’s guns away. I choose not to own one, but if you are a law-abiding citizen who wants to hunt or who wants to own a gun for personal protection, I don’t have a problem with that.

I do, however, have a problem with semi-automatic weapons.

I do have a problem with people being able to buy a gun without a background check.

I do have a problem with a suspected religious zealot being able to walk in and get a gun even though he is considered too dangerous to get on an airplane.

We have become a circus in this country. A crazed, insane, zealot-run circus. We refuse to talk to each other and what’s worse, we refuse to listen to each other.

These 50 people are dead because we can’t get Congress to pass a law denying guns to suspected terrorists.

These people are dead because we allow the vilification of innocent LGBT people without challenge under the guise of “religious freedom.”

Well, your freedom of religion should not restrict the rights of others. That’s what freedom of religion means. You worship in your way and you don’t get to impose your beliefs on me. You don’t get to have a theocracy that aligns with your beliefs.

It’s time to start having a real and reasoned conversation in this country, about guns and about religion.

Let’s lock out the NRA and other powerful, moneyed hate groups and start to talk to each other, and more importantly, to listen, with respect, to people’s concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

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