Reflections on the Orlando Mass Murder

I've tried to keep my blog reasonably nonpolitical and in a way I find it sad that commenting on an act of murder and terror is a political act.

Forty nine people were murdered early Sunday morning at the Pulse nightclub. The Pulse being a gay nightclub, they were almost certainly targeted due to their sexual identities. I don't know what to call it - an act of hate, an act of terror. I don't think it really matters what you call it. Forty nine lives were ended and their loved ones are left dealing with the horror of what happened.

I've been wrestling with my own thoughts. They're layered but for what it's worth, this is what they are...

As far as guns are concerned... As a nation, we're not going to do a damn thing. Twenty 6 and 7-year old children were killed in Sandy Hook, along with school personnel and the killer's mother. We didn't do anything then. When we decided nothing was the right course of action for dead children, we accepted that mass shootings just happen from time to time.

I don't buy for a second that reasonable gun control is impossible. No, criminals don't follow the law. But, we can certainly make things harder. ISIS leadership has talked about how wonderfully easy it is to obtain firearms in the United States.

What we lack is serious research into what could work. Claiming the only solution is a good guy with a gun sounds all bad-ass. Support that assertion with peer-reviewed research. There's the claim gun control is impossible. Do the research. See what will work. But do it seriously. I doubt we have the capability to do that though.

As far as whether this was an act of Islamic Terrorism or not. The killer certainly considered himself allied with ISIS. And ISIS has encouraged independent operatives, of which the killer appears to have been one, though the facts are still developing.

Regardless of whether or not this was an act of Islamic Terrorism, it should not be denied that many religions treat the LGBT community, to quote Father James Martin, as an "other" or "them". Both Christianity and Islam typically treat homosexuality as sinful. In some Islamic countries homosexual acts are crimes incurring capital punishment. The Catholic Church considers homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered".

There is also a matter of evidence. To stay on the Catholic Church, the same Catechism which considers homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered" says that masturbation is a "intrinsically and gravely disordered action".  However, you do not see Catholic bishops lobbying for anti-masturbation laws.

Take a look on Twitter and you'll find some appalling Muslim and Christian solidarity, with deranged people of both faiths celebrating the murders of 49 people. All Christians? All Muslims? No, of course not. But it is not difficult to find, even in many mainstream branches of both faiths, a strong undercurrent of homophobia, often phrased in "love the sinner, hate the sin" (something Jesus never advocated) or "religions freedom".

I'm not trying to pick on Christians. But I'm frustrated by the amount of Islamophobia I see, as if it's only in the Muslim faith that one can find homophobia.

I'd say love your LGBT neighbors, friends, and family. Stand with them in solidarity now and tomorrow, share their pain. I've seen among LGBT friends the horror this event has invoked, often a feeling of "it could have been me". I'd imagine it's quite similar to the feeling many parents had after Sandy Hook.

Reading over this, it seems inadequate. I feel frustrated. Frustrated that we accept mass shootings. Frustrated that we demonize people due to their religions, due to their sexual identity. I'm trying not to fall into despair but it's getting hard. I'm even frustrated by this post - I wish this were a master statement that summarized everything and solved everything.

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