Sunday, June 12, 2016

From Mourning to a Bright Dawn

I am struggling with one of the deepest bouts of depression that I have had in years.  I don’t get them often, but with the shooting in Orlando--the latest in a chain of shootings around the world--I am struck with an almost debilitating sense of melancholy.  This is due to the utter failure of our leaders to do anything sweeping to resolve the two main causes of these events:  raging hatred and guns—a combination that keeps proving disastrous.

First: the hate.  The Orlando gunman was angered at the sight of two men kissing: pure homophobic rage.  So he went out with an assault rifle later to shoot dozens of people at a predominantly gay club.  It seems illogical and unimaginable and, it would be, if we lived in a society that actually condemned and curbed bigotry, racism and all irrational hatred of groups of people.  But we don’t.  We allow religious leaders and politicians to promote harm and hatred in speech, legislation and more.  We must--as a unified species--move to toward a day when it is unacceptable for an ideology, belief, law or anything to promote hate or harm.  Freedom of speech should not include hate speech; Pat Robertson, the Westboro Church and all those spewing hate should not be protected under the First Amendment.  Freedoms come with responsibilities: the freedom of speech should come with the responsibility to not use it to promote hate or harm.

Then there’s the gun issue.  Whether you think the Second Amendment was meant as a stop-gap until we developed an official set of armed forces or as a decree that all citizens should have the right to own a gun in perpetuity, our weapons have evolved and our Second Amendment rights must evolve as well.  NO CIVILIAN should have access to assault weapons like the AR-15.  Period. There really is no valid argument and it’s preposterous that our country has dragged its proverbial feet on this.  Again: we have to balance each freedom with responsibility.

Finally, in-between writing this out and looking for answers, I have stumbled on a few sites that have helped me remember the person I like to be: the helper, the educator, the force for positive change.  So if, like me, you’re feeling at seas with troubling emotions, join me in using them for good:  let your anger, despair and desire for change drive you towards action and let’s all do something to try to make the world a better place.    Let's start a bright new day...together.  

Here is a list of some things you can do.  If you know of more, leave them in the comments. 

Demand change:  write letters to the White House and local politicians.  Demand no more anti-LGTB laws.  Demand gun control—at least of assault weapons.

Donate money: the GoFundMe page for Equality Florida
to directly help the Pulse attack victims and their families.

Donate blood:
 Equality Florida's site has blood drive locations, counseling options, and vigil information. also has information on more locations and becoming a donor.

Donate time (or money):
Everytown For Gun Safety 
is a strong voice in the gun control movement.