The slaughter of 50 people in Miami this past weekend is yet another example of people victimized by blind obedience to ancient religious rules, rules written centuries ago that have no basis in human morality. This is what happens when people are taught what to think morally instead of how to think morally. True human morality simply consists of those actions that reduce emotional and physical suffering, crossing all lines of age, status, occupation, wealth, gender, culture and even religions themselves. We recognize human suffering through our own personal experiences, as well as those passed onto us from history. Major societal advances in morality have occurred when people decided to disobey ancient rules and instead listen to their human morality, with examples being the abolition of slavery, rights for women and most recently same-sex marriage.
Until we realize and embrace what human morality truly is, we will continue to endure senseless suffering and violence due to the obedience to primitive religious rules.
Now the National Rifle Association has another trophy it can hang alongside those from Sandy Hook and all the other massacres that have taken place in the United States.
How many men, women and children have to die in this country before our spineless, money-driven, gutless “lawmakers” take a stand and say “enough is enough”? The NRA and its ilk say that gun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment, but the Second Amendment refers to a militia as being the justification for bearing arms. Well, then, simply require that anyone wanting to own or possess a gun be a member of a state-sanctioned militia, and that only the militia quartermaster be authorized to sell and issue weapons.
As a youth, I engaged in the casual bigotry against black people and anti-gay slurs that were common to that time. That behavior changed as I got to know people of color as well as gays and lesbians through my time in the military and subsequent employment. However, this is not a letter about overcoming prejudice. It is about access to guns. When blind prejudice and ignorance are combined with ready access to assault weapons, massacres ensue. The majority of Americans, even a majority of NRA members, support sensible gun control. But even modest efforts at reform are defeated by the power of the gun manufacturers’ lobby. In addition to demanding that our legislators pass legislation preventing the ownership of semi-automatic weapons, we can stand up against bigotry when and where ever it rears its ugly head. Do not let racist and anti LBGT comments go by without indicating that you find such words offensive. Be an ally of groups under attack, such as the Muslims, people of color and the LGBT community. To do nothing is to be complicit in horrors such as the one that just occurred.
In Florida, we saw what happens when people nourish themselves with LGBT hate. 50 die at the hands of a man who hates people he has never met. 50 lives are cut short way too soon. 50 families are broken forever.
HB2 is a NC law that takes the right to sue for discrimination in state court and prohibits transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identities. It was not passed to fix a genuine harm, but it has caused real emotional and economic harm to the people of NC. It came from a place of hate. Let’s retract it from a place of compassion.
In their memory, let’s show that NC stands against this hate. Now is the time to repeal HB2.
Deborah R. Gerhardt
Associate professor, UNC School of Law
In the light of the vicious gunning down of 49 people in the gay club in Orlando – the ultimate act of exclusion – it is especially painful to learn that the General Assembly is again considering legislation that would make us even more unwelcoming than they have already made us with HB2. This time it will try to stop refugees, restricting their freedom of movement and requiring discriminatory monitoring, creating in effect an invisible wall around them.
Many North Carolinians are eager help Syrian refugees – many of whom are Muslim families fleeing violence. These newcomers have already been vetted six government agencies. They seek only to live in peace and freedom, one better than the misery from which they came – just like our immigrant ancestors.
HB 1086 would prevent them from resettling in new communities by allowing localities to plead lack of capacity even if individual groups like churches or private campuses and organizations are prepared to support their transition to stable living. The bill would also foment ill feelings against refugees, which are breeding grounds for violence.
Let people of conscience speak out to the need to welcome the Other as part of the human family.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s official response to the tragedy in Orlando was to offer his prayers to the families of the victims and the mayor of Orlando. He went on to offer the assistance of North Carolina to the governor of Florida. Wouldn’t it have been more meaningful if he had offered something more tangible than prayers and offers of support?
Why couldn’t he have taken a stand against intolerance toward the LGBT community by pledging to immediately send a request to the legislature to rescind HB2? By doing so he would make a powerful statement to the fallen and the families in Orlando, as well as to the country and the world that North Carolina is a state that not only accepts diversity among its citizens and upholds the rights of all people no matter their race, sex, religion, nation of origin or gender identity.
It’s not too late, Gov. McCrory.
The mass shooting in Orlando was not just about ISIS. According to the perpetrator’s wife, he also had hatred of the gay community, which would certainly explain his choice of targets.
In this state, the Republican majority in the legislature with help from our Republican governor passed HB2, creating a climate in which such intolerance festers and grows (this bill also prevents people from suing for discrimination in state courts). How can we as a supposedly Christian people permit such intolerance? What kind of example are we to the Muslim world when we espouse the same attitudes they do?
I am a 60-year-old Baptist heterosexual female, and if God is love, he doesn’t subscribe to these attitudes, either.
Once again we hear the call for less guns and more compassion in the face of terror. We are missing the fact that terror does not rely upon only guns. We should be discussing how to identify those who would join in the terror march. Just as with the Nazis during the last world war, we must take a direct approach. Just as in WWII, where we waited and waited before we committed to ending the regime, we now are waiting for others to step up and end this threat. We offer training and weapons to many who are reluctant to take the battle on while we sit back and wring our hands. This threat has no uniforms nor borders and we simply want to understand their hatred. Today, we sit and talk with those we are at war against as if a diplomatic solution is at hand. We should never negotiate or use diplomacy until the war is over. Our weak response has done nothing but allow the enemy to expand and grow. Did we not learn anything from the past? We must win this and do so quickly to save the future.
No, Mr President, “we” are not to blame for the Orlando massacre. It was committed by an evil radicalized Muslim terrorist without a conscience. Your refusal to properly identify this threat and take rational steps to address it are more to blame than anything the collective “we” could have done. I am 72 years old and have owned guns most of my life. I have never shot anyone or even shot at anyone, and my guns have never taken it on their own to do so. This is the case with over 99 percent of the gun-owning population. More people are killed in vehicle crashes every year than by guns, but we place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the drivers and not on the inanimate objects in those cases. Your head in the sand approach to radical Islam has made our country much more vulnerable than it might be if you had not tied the hands of our law enforcement agencies when dealing with this real evil in our world. And, Mr President, we are a great country despite your obvious contempt for our system! We give more to poor countries than any other nation on earth.
What is so surprising about the mass shooting at an LGBT establishment? I am not surprised at all. Tragedy? Yes. But I have been expecting this for a long time. The majority of American families are doing everything to raise their families under a moral umbrella. Weare really sick and tired of the LGBT community and the media trying to cram a perverse lifestyle down the throats of moral America. No one should lose their lives to violence, but it is time for the LGBT community to go live their lives without cramming their agenda down the throats of heterosexual people, who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.
What do you think might happen if, the next time some impotent psychopath stages a mass murder in this country (and we all know this will happen), no member of the press showed up to glorify him? What if the media were to purposely deny that future perpetrator the notoriety he seeks by not telling the world his sad life story, or not even mentioning his name?
Is it possible that others seeking immortality through public butchery might think twice about going to the trouble of spilling all that blood if they knew they were going to be ignored?
I believe it is a question worth pondering by my fellow members of the media.
Once again we are reeling in grief and outrage over this largest mass shooting in American history – in a crowded nightclub.
The Orlando shooter killed 49 people and wounded 53 others with an assault-style rifle. Assault rifles are weapons of mass destruction. Their central purpose is the rapid-fire killing of innocent people.
Why do we allow these deadly weapons to be sold? How many more mass shootings will we tolerate?
Six months ago in San Bernardino, California, a man and woman used assault rifles to kill 14 people and wound 20 others. In 2012, a man in Aurora, Colorado, armed with an assault-style rifle, killed 12 people and wounded 58 others in a movie theater. And in 2012, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a man used an assault rifle to kill 28 people, mostly first graders, wounding two others.
As a people, we cannot allow this combination of hatred and guns to continue. What kind of people do we want to be? It’s time to wake up and say “enough is enough!”
Deadly assault weapons should not be available for purchase.
It’s time for assault weapons to be banned.
Board member, Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham
It is absolutely disheartening when our administration spokespeople, Hillary Clinton and other liberal Democrats immediately suggest the cause of the Orlando massacre is gun access and not Islamic radicalism and extremism. They will not even say the words. I suggest they go back to school and study root cause analysis. By the way, it was an Israeli citizen carrying a gun who came to the defense of innocent victims in the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv recently. Four people were killed there. not 50.
While watching the news after the horrific event in Orlando, I noticed a clinic that was accepting blood donations was named One Blood. It did not say Muslim blood, Christian blood, Jewish blood. It did not say Black blood, White blood, Hispanic blood, Asian blood. It did not say male blood, female blood. It did not say straight blood, gay blood. Simply, One Blood.
While the loss of life in Orlando was horrific, I feel little compassion. It may be attributed to a “hate” crime, but even God hates what the LGBT community stands for. America is tired of the media barrage pushing the agenda of something so vile and sickening. While the shooter’s reasons are questionable, he made a point by his selection of this target. As a normal “Straight” American I, too, am sick of being expected to accept and embrace their lifestyle and remaining silent about it. This group does NOT speak for America. They should crawl to God, their closet, or go underground. I firmly believe acceptance of the LGBT depravity undermines our nation and what we used to stand. Endorsement by our elected leaders is just another step into the sewer. I reserve the right to my opinion.
How many more Americans will be slaughtered before our legislators have the courage to address gun violence in our country? Are the votes and money contributed by the NRA more valuable than a human life?
Georgie F Brizendine
OK, so that sick, sorry shooter in Orlando got it into his head that he likes ISIS. But consider this: He didn’t go shoot up a recruiting center or a police department or a mall. What he did was go into a gay nightclub and murder 50 gay folks, in the most cowardly way possible.
A gay club. The sorry NC General Assembly, our governor and other state’s homophobic lawmakers – plus the Christianists and other right-wing fundamentalist activists participated in these murders by their words and deeds, giving form and direction to that sorry loser’s hate. Our lawmakers and governor identified the victims as targets. Not in so many words, but by identifying guys and transfolk as “other,” as “wrong,” as people that “good folks” need to legislate against, protect themselves against.
NC politicians and the bigots who support them (as opposed to the innocently misled) need to make no mistake about this: You had a hand in what happened in Orlando. He shot them, but you put the bulls-eye on them and you surely bear some culpability.
On and on, Fayetteville shootings, celebrity shootings, Orlando mass shootings. The gun industry has evolved thanks to both parties taking money from the NRA, and now automatic weapons are like cell phones: Everybody has one. The Democrats are willing to address this issue, the Republicans don’t see an issue. Have you had enough yet? Seriously, have you had enough yet? Vote Democratic in November, right down the ballot!
One person , one assault weapon = 50 dead people. When is this carnage going to end? No one needs a weapon like this. It is meant for one thing and one thing only – mass murder. How many people does it take to die before these weapons are outlawed? NRA be damned. Come November, I will vote against any candidate who does not back restrictions on these weapons of mass destruction.
We are mourning again, angered, questioning why more have died, this time in Orlando. I’m among them, but belong to a gun-owning family of three men who hunt; I’m still not a fan of venison. A strong memory is telling my family that I’d heard that Federal Automatic Weapons Ban was allowed to expire in 2004. My high school aged sons were astonished; they used guns for hunting deer and knew that an automatic used for hunting would destroy it. So, what is the purpose of owning an assault weapon, designed for waging war? I know about its military use, when it began as an M16, used during war to protect by rapidly killing large numbers of soldiers, when needed.
Seeking answers, it was easiest to go to Wikipedia. and I found some statistics about civilian use of AR15 style automatic rifles. According to this one source, “As of 2012, there are an estimated 2.5-3.7 million rifles from the AR-15 family in civilian use in the United States. They are favored for target shooting, hunting, and personal protection, and have become the most popular rifle in America.”. It’s past time to address our internal American war.