The tragic shooting in Orlando has left a lot of people in complete outrage. There are always stories in the news about people being oppressed abroad. ISIS throwing homosexuals from rooftops to their death or burning captive women alive, Saudi Arabia executing homosexuals, or other Middle Eastern countries continuing to treat women as inequal. As tragic as this is, planet Earth still hasn’t caught up with the message of equality or reached an ability to tolerate differences.
But now this extreme intolerance abroad has reached home. A mass shooting occurred against an LGBT gathering, simply because these people were homosexual and their lifestyles were ones an organization didn’t agree with. This didn’t happen in Saudia Arabia, an ISIS-occupied territory, or any other oppressive country abroad. It happened in Florida.
We are the United States of America. This country is called the land of the free for a reason. But in the modern world, we live by labels. White, black, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual, liberal, conservative, liberal, libertarian, socialist, communist, anarchist, male, female, poor, rich, middle class, etc. While any number of these labels may or may not be reflective of any given individual, through the use of these labels people often became removed from the fact that were all still human beings. With human beings comes the right to their own lives and the right to be free.
Since the shooting, a lot of well-meaning people have retreated to their respective political corners to shout down others, however. Many on the left have resorted to scapegoating the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby, whereas many on the right have resorted to scapegoating Muslims. Both are wrong.
The availability of guns does present a method of murder to these people, but removing them will not prevent them. ISIS is an organization with extreme execution methods. This is an organization that made a name for itself burning a Jordanian pilot in a cage alive and beheading Christians theatrically on video. Suicide bombings were attempted during the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino shooters had explosives as well. They’ve also thrown homosexuals from rooftops to their deaths.
Let us also not forget that a few thousand people died on September 11th, 2001 after terrorists hijacked airplanes using box cutters.
Gun control won’t stop it. But neither will deporting all Muslim immigrants or refusing the steady flow of immigrants. Omar Mateen was a U.S. citizen and a security guard. Being a security guard, background checks theoretically would’ve turned up nothing. Similarly, being a citizen of our country, stopping immigration or deporting immigrants wouldn’t have prevented it either.
The extremes of politics, exacerbated by the current political climate and those running for President, is making things worse. We can promote responsible gun ownership and proper gun training, without tightening restrictions on law-abiding Americans. Similarly, we can promote tolerance of other religious lifestyles and proper immigrating screening, without banning certain religions and cutting off immigration. Everyone is their own person and should not be punished for the actions of an extremist.
The Orlando shooting shows us a need to remember each individual should be viewed in their own right. Omar Mateen doesn’t represent all gun owners or all Muslims. He is one man who promoted hatred and violence and would stop at nothing to promote that. That is contrary to what most responsible and lawful gun owning Americans believe in, it’s also contrary to what many Muslims believe in.
It’s time for America to get past the political stereotypes and partisan politicking. View each individual as an individual. This is the only way we, as a free nation, will win over those who seek to destroy us.