First off, you shouldn’t need fifty reasons to work towards ending gun violence and homophobia. Both of these societal ailments are terrible byproducts of a society that has accepted violence as a way to promote your prejudices. Earlier today, Orlando, FL experienced the worst mass shooting to ever happen on U.S. soil and, unfortunately, Pulse Nightclub will now have its name in the history books. So the goal now? To hope, to pray, and always remember to love. Mass shootings are unnecessary and completely avoidable. Don’t believe me? Then take note of the fact that this is the 15th mass shooting that President Obama has had to publicly mourn over, or the thousands of murders that happen a year from both regular and mass shootings. We have had school shootings, shootings at movie theaters, and now, a shooting at a gay night club! We are not safe from these mass shootings until our laws reflect our discomfort. By allowing money to take over our policies and letting gun-nut groups like the NRA to continue to influence the law, we have no one to blame but ourselves! And that’s not all. Islamaphobia has been rampant in the public discourse since the 9/11 attacks. We have, as a society, marginalized a group of Americans just because we choose to associate an entire religion with terrorism. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban are NOT Islamic groups, they are extremists who misuse the name of their God (Allah) to purport hate. They are not Islam, but they are just as hateful and a menace to society as our own KKK who have almost literally the same history and the same agenda. By allowing Islamaphobia we, inadvertently, encourage ISIS-supporters and supporters of terrorist groups to gain ground. These groups use marginalization as a tool and a method to lure young men and women in the West to attack their own neighbors.
Remember that hate is a learned trait, which is why Islamaphobia is so rampant and why homophobia is so rampant.
Now do you need 50 reasons to end gun violence and homophobia, and along with that, Islamaphobia? I’ll give you 103. At the Pulse Night Club at Orlando, FL just after 2 A.M. EST, a gunman used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot several rounds which was followed by panic and a three-hour long standoff with the local police department until the S.W.A.T. team killed the suspect. In all, 50 lives were lost and, so far, 53 more were injured. All in all, 103 is the number we need to remember.
The following days, weeks, and months (especially this Pride month) need to be dedicated towards the lives of these victims. The LGBTQ community need to stay strong, stand up, and refuse to hate. America needs to wake up, because we must be united in this effort to prevent more senseless deaths, more violence, more terror, and more hate! We must make sure to make the deaths at Pulse Night Club to be a turning point, however unfortunate it truly is, for the conversation on gun control because, otherwise, these deaths, their souls, and the souls of others who have died senseless deaths from gun violence will have died in vain.
With much love and best regards,
Christopher Sugatan Fornesa