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Friday, June 24, 2016

Editorial: Another Mass Shooting

Written by  Jim Becker; Baltimore OUTloud Co-Publisher

Can the LGBT Community Tip the Balance on Gun Control?

Once again, on Sunday morning, Americans awoke to another mass shooting of innocent people. This time the victims where patrons of a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, and from what we know of the shooter this was clearly a hate crime and terrorist attack on the LGBT communities. Baltimore OUTloud sends our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of those who were murdered and to the victims who are struggling for their lives. We join with those who held spontaneous vigils in Mount Vernon at the Washington Monument, Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill, and others throughout the country in grieving this egregious assault.

These mass murders are becoming so routine that there is a formula for a response. We express shock and dismay, send sympathies to those caught up in the tragedies, bemoan the state of gun laws, and after a brief period go back to our daily routines with certitude that nothing really is going to change. Sadly that is the likely outcome this time as well.

Until recently, most of this madness that we call mass shootings have been the direct result of our insane love affair with guns in this country. Many psychopaths and sociopaths can easily obtain assault weapons such as the one used by the Orlando murderer – we are told he recently purchased the weapons legally! The Columbine school massacre, the Colorado movie theater carnage, and the Sandy Hook slaughter of 20 elementary school children are but a few examples of the madness that is America armed to the teeth.

But now we can see that political motives are giving cover to these sociopaths and psychopaths: witness the church murders in South Carolina, the San Bernardino attacks, and now this lunacy. The shooter has been identified as a religious fanatic, homophobic, racist, misogynist, wife beater who declared allegiance to the Islamic State.

Reportedly, the father of this madman has said that his son’s slaughter of innocent people had nothing to do with religion. Rather, the father said that his son became upset recently when he saw two men kissing in Miami. We wonder how such expressions of love and affection can engender such hate. The Islamic State implements its version of sharia law in the areas of the Middle East that it controls and has executed gay men by throwing them off of buildings and stoning them. So where could this hatred have originated?

We have been very distressed by the extremism displayed by the National Rifle Association throughout all of these years of carnage. Now, however, we feel that it is time to identify the NRA for what it is. No doubt the NRA and its members would be appalled at any suggestion that its absolutist positions against any efforts at reasonable gun control in the name of the Second Amendment has anything to do with terrorism. But its positions play directly into the hands of terrorists by promoting policies that result in the proliferation of these insane weapons of murder across the land. The NRA has turned the Second Amendment on its head, from a right of collective defense to a prescription for mayhem.

Often gun apologist say that we must respect those who have died by not making political statements when these tragedies occur. We feel that the only way to respect those who have been sacrificed is to speak out. This event is so horrific that to do otherwise would be an outrage.

Our hearts go out to all the families who have been touch by this tragedy.

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