Letters to the Editor

Orlando letters: Soul struggles, screaming time bombs and politics

When atrocities happen, it’s natural to ask the haunting question, “Why?” We may never fully know what motivated Omar Mateen to kill 49 people. Still, I bristle at the simplistic suggestion that his avowed politics tell the whole story. The picture emerging is sadder, more complicated.

To focus narrowly on “radical Islam,” and treat this as one part of a global terror fight, is to forget the targets, the victims, of this shooting. Mateen did not go to a supermarket, campus or Congress. He went to Pulse, a nightclub that served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, a place he is said to have frequented.

What we’re learning is a too common revelation of someone violently, viciously responding to desire he experienced but did not understand. This duality extends beyond Islam. How often do we hear of fundamentalist Christian preachers, of Catholic bishops and priests, of ardently religious politicians who spread anti-gay rhetoric and are later outed in same-sex relationships?

As we honor and mourn the lives lost, we must recognize the true struggle is not with “radical Islam” or “radical Christianity” but within each of our souls, learning how not to demonize who and how we love.

Chuck Small

Raleigh

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Our Constitution begins, “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility.” Over 100 deaths and injuries in Orlando are just another example that we are not insuring domestic tranquility. When are we going to reach the point when our representatives are going to enact laws to reasonably control access to firearms, particularly automatic weapons? How many more Orlandos, Sandy Hooks, San Bernardinos and Virginia Techs do we need before some action is taken?

I understand that our Founders insured the right to bear arms in order to allow for a well-regulated militia, and I support a person’s right to hunt and, if they choose, purchase a hand gun to defend homes. But I have to question the judgment of the Wake County Republican Party to raffle off “THREE great weapons” including two that are not so different from the AR-15 chosen by the shooter in Orlando. I think Orlando showed we had at least one too many automatic rifles, and the GOP should have asked, do we really need two more?

Paul Dreyer Sr.

Raleigh

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The day after the mass shooting, you take a shower, go to work, make dinner, brush your teeth, go to bed. But there are these little moments in between when you think about the horror. The horror of words of hate, put into action. The words that are heard in too many churches, mosques and family tables: fag, degenerate, sick, abomination.

So when the bullets tore through the bodies of 92 people, they reverberated and screamed the life out of 49. One person did this. But thousands of our leaders in our communities and in political power helped. With their words of hate, they urged each bullet to end a life of a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, a friend.

Dylann Roof heard the voices to end the lives of African-Americans. Robert Dear heard the voices to end the lives of people who worked at Planned Parenthood.

There have been 998 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. In four years. 998 mass shootings. So as we go along our days as we must, take a moment and think what group are you identified by. Because words are bullets now.

Mae Arant

Chapel Hill

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To stop more massacres, Republican “thoughts and prayers” are not enough.

M.B. Hardy

Raleigh

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My profound grief over the Pulse Club massacre in Orlando is turning to outrage. The fact is that the control of guns, however laudable, is absolutely impossible. If the FBI were not entirely dysfunctional, we might be able to control those few psychotic mass murderers who are still out there in a workplace or plotting in a dark room within the home of a delusional mother in Connecticut.

Some, like Omar Mateen, who slaughtered 50 innocents early Sunday, are screaming their intentions to spouses and co-workers alike. Mateen’s ex-wife said that her ex-husband was a mad man who constantly expressed support for violent extremism and for ISIS. A co-worker interviewed by ABC said he had frequently threatened to kill all the black people on earth. He used the “n” word, of course.

The FBI has an annual budget of $8.3 billion. Might we the people expect that it could afford to hire an agent with the intelligence to detect a human time bomb, not ticking, but blasting like the sounds of an assault rifle in the hands of a homicidal, self-loathing, suicidal maniac?

Graham Marlette

Durham

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Don’t politicize mass shootings? The Orlando mass shooting was politicized before it ever happened. Politicized by the NRA, which, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, pumped $4.4 million into North Carolina Sen. Tom Tillis’ 2014 campaign, either indirectly or via opposition spending.

Politicized again on Dec. 3, when both North Carolina senators voted against prohibiting those on the FBI’s terror watch list from purchasing assault weapons.

And it was politicized when North Carolina’s Republican legislature passed HB2, targeting the LGBT community with a message of hatred and prejudice. Violence against women, against LGBTs, against racial minorities is political because sexism, homophobia and racism are political.

Politics is about power. And money. Money that pours into gun manufacturers after every mass shooting. Money with which to buy senators and legislators, and the power to decide how many will die next.

The massacre of innocent schoolchildren is a political decision. A deliberate political decision. A decision that could have been otherwise. Forty-nine dead in Orlando, 22 in Newtown, 14 in San Bernardino. How many is too many? For the NRA, the gun industry and North Carolina’s senators, it would appear that no number is too high. Because it’s all political.

Leo Sadovy

Wake Forest

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After reading the article “Islam’s Jihad Against Homosexuals” in the June 14 edition of The Wall Street Journal, I better understand the problems we face here in the United States, a land where we celebrate freedom of religion. This article, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, explains the horrors of how Islamic Law deals with homosexuality. Quoting from his 2006 book “Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law,” author Rudolph Peters states, “the Malikites, the Shiites and some Shafi’ites and Hanbalites are of the opinion that the penalty is death, either by stoning (Malakites), the sword (some Shafi’ites and Hanbalites) or, at the discretion of the court, by killing the culprit in the usual manner with a sword, stoning him, throwing him from a (high) wall or burning him (Shiites).”

Ali goes on in his article to report horrific statistics of Muslim homophobia. It is an account well worth reading in this age of terror, when 40 out of 57 Muslim-majority countries or territories have laws that criminalize homosexuality. It is critical for us to understand that this ideology is growing in our country under the guise of religion.

Jane Shields

Rocky Mount

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I prayed for those murdered, injured, their friends, families and loved ones.

Unfortunately, with every mass shooting, both sides of gun rights come out with more reasons to either add or reduce gun laws.

Time has come for everyone to take responsibility for their personal safety. No law enforcement agency, be it local, state or federal can guarantee everyone’s safety.

As mentioned by the FBI director, everyone should develop situational awareness. If they feel something isn’t right, be prepared to do something about it. A person’s brain is if trained their best weapon.

In the case of Orlando, there were over 300 people in the club at the time of the shooting. People there had the opportunity to do something. If an individual wants to be armed, that’s their choice. There are other options, mace, pepper spray, a bright strobe light, even objects available that can be thrown at the shooter.

Everyone should become aware of what’s around them and look for defensive options.

Harold Mendelson

Pinehurst

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