Requiem for Orlando

I’ve never been to Florida. However, I do know that it contains the alleged Happiest Place on Earth…Disney World in Orlando. flLately though things have been decidedly unhappy in Orlando. Singer Christina Grimmie was shot to death at a meet & greet after a concert. I hadn’t previously heard of Ms. Grimmie because I don’t watch The Voice, but I must say she seems to have been amazingly talented and her murder is exceptionally tragic. At Disney World itself a toddler was mauled by an alligator, creatures that I understand are abundant in Florida though this type of incident is mercifully rare. I feel confident in speaking for The Manoverse by saying that we’re all praying for the child’s parents. I can’t even wrap my head around the immense heartbreak. And of course, as we all know by now, just 15 miles down the road from Disney at a night club called Pulse, the alleged deadliest mass shooting in United States history recently took place. It is this last situation about which I feel compelled to opine.

 

I have been making a concerted effort to dial back my sometimes overzealous passion, often resisting the urge to make even seemingly innocuous comments about divisive issues on social media and elsewhere. I try to atleast let a situation simmer and contemplate my thoughts before going off on some kind of ill-prepared emotional rant. And so I have delayed discourse on the Orlando tragedy until more information emerged and tempers (including my own) calmed a bit.

 

There is no need to recount the circumstances of what happened at Pulse. Unless one has been completely off the grid you are aware of the basic details. Approximately 50 people are dead and 50+ more were injured. However, a few things need to be said about the aftermath.

 

debateFirst of all, I am a bit perplexed by those who whine & complain about the situation being “politicized”. Let’s be real here folks…it is a mass shooting by a radical Muslim sympathizer in a gay nightclub. That’s a hot button trifecta, akin to an abortion in a black church performed by a white “transgender” person while smoking cigarettes and preaching about climate change. With 24/7 news channels & social media there is no way an event like this doesn’t become a topic of debate. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be sensitive to the victims & their families or lament the kinder, gentler America of our idyllic memories, but quarreling about these issues is kind of what we do now. It’s your choice whether or not to engage or even pay any attention to the noise at all, but don’t be overly naïve or idealistic.

 

Secondly…as if we didn’t already know this…our so-called leaders haven’t come off looking particularly impressive. President Obama can barely contain his contempt for the nation he is supposed to be leading. Donald Trump can’t say a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g without getting blasted with criticism from all sides because he has this way of ticking people off even when he might actually have an occasional valid point. Hilary Clinton & Bernie Sanders are cartoon characters at this stage. None of us were alive in the days of Washington, Adams, Lincoln, or Teddy Roosevelt, but I have to assume that the level of statesmanship & wisdom back then far exceeded what seems to be available to us now. Even George W. trump3Bush, who was & is unmercifully mocked, disparaged, & disrespected by many, united the nation all too briefly after 9/11. W. seems like the love child of Confucius, Gandhi, & Winston Churchill in comparison to the buffoons in charge nowadays. It saddens me that we can’t do better.

 

Predictably the outrage has resulted in demands for more gun control. Rolling Stone magazine has called for an outright repeal constof the 2nd Amendment. Noted assclown Piers Morgan exhibited his typical fury. Empty-headed celebrities have chimed in with idiotic statements on social media. I have had to limit my exposure because I have an upcoming doctor’s appointment and I don’t want him to increase my blood pressure meds.

 

Here are some points that are interesting to me:

  • When a white man shot a bunch of black folks in a South Carolina church a year ago the outrage resulted in a backlash against the Confederate battle flag, the disappearance of The Dukes of Hazzard repeats from television, & monuments honoring Confederate soldiers that have been dead for two centuries being destroyed. But now a Muslim has committed mass murder (again) and we are berated with the familiar “Islam is a peaceful religion” poppycock that is demonstrably false.
  • People really like to throw around the term “hate” in 21st century America. Their definition of hatred is anyone who disagrees with a lifestyle or sociopolitical viewpoint. Bible believing Christians don’t condone homosexuality and therefore choose not to participate in same sex marriages by making a cake, etc. Muslims too disagree with homosexuality. They kill gay people, as we witnessed in Orlando. See the difference??
  • When I was a kid in the mid-80’s the speed limit on the interstate was 55 mph. Now the speed limits are in the 65-75 mph range and the annual traffic accident death toll has risen accordingly. Approximately 700k abortions are performed each year in America. Hardly anyone is clamoring to lower the speed limit and there are those who fervently advocate for “a woman’s right to choose”, yet a shocking amount of people are willing to give up their Constitutional right to bear arms due to their anger over gun violence. The incongruity is mind boggling.
  • The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791. The AR-15, a weapon commonly demonized in gun control debates, went to market in the early 1960’s. Yet over half of the 30 deadliest mass shootings in the United States dating back to 1949 have occurred in the past decade. What has changed in these ten years?? Not the guns. Laws have only become more numerous & increasingly astringent. Perhaps we should look inward. Maybe it is the general mentality & mood of the populace that has become more unhinged. Might we consider addressing the source of the ailment instead of putting a patch on the symptoms??
  • Any alleged “Christian” who says that the “LGBT community” deserves what happened at Pulse doesn’t know what they’re talking about and they certainly don’t attend a church I’d want to visit.
  • The idea that The Founding Fathers perceived the right to bear arms as owning a musket and that somehow invalidates the concept is absurd. The framers of The Constitution were all too familiar with government oppression. The United States was founded on the radical concepts of liberty & democracy and the principles advocated within our foundational documents reflect that. It’s not about this gun vs. that gun. It is way bigger than anything so prosaic, and those who are encouraging the rise of tyranny and a decline in freedom completely miss the point and are falling into exactly the kind of trap the Founders were trying to avoid. Modern freedom of the press involves mass media that those gentlemen couldn’t have conceived of in their wildest dreams, but oddly enough I don’t hear anyone insisting on eliminating that particular amendment.
  • Obama can kvetch all he wants to about the folly of semantics, but the fact is that the Orlando shooter had pledged loyalty to ISIS and was said to be shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he was killing people. He may have also been a self-loathing gay man but I’m not sure what relevance that may have. It is also factual to say that multiple acts of horrific violence, including the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, The Beltway Sniper shootings in 2002, the London subway bombing in 2005, the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, and of course the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center & The Pentagon were all committed by Muslim terrorists. It may seem insignificant to some, but the people of the United States of America want…need…to hear their President acknowledge this instead of trying to do a soft sell about the so-called “religion of peace”. Why is Islam in general given a pass when an alleged lone wolf radical does something bad, but all gun owners have to pay for the sins of the few?? Surely the double standard is obvious.

 

contemplationLook, I don’t have the answers. I’m just a humble Potentate of Profundity living a quiet life in Appalachia. Nothing anyone says or does is going to bring those patrons of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL back from the dead or make the injured ones whole again. I understand the desire to “do something”. Aspiring to prevent similar catastrophes in the future is admirable. That being said, I am genuinely apprehensive about the capabilities of many currently in positions to affect change. I have little confidence in their capacity for prudent decision making. I sense that a well-meaning, fed up, fearful, & ill-informed public can be too easily led down the wrong path. America is faced with a real life Kobayashi Maru. Would it be cheating to reprogram our hearts & minds toward kindness, civility, & acknowledgement of true evil…or might it just be the only way to legitimately save countless lives??

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