You have no doubt by now heard about the shooting in Orlando, Florida, at a gay club there and that the perpetrator (who is now dead) killed dozens and injured dozens more in the name of ISIS. It is, to date, the worst mass shooting in American history.
When something like this happens, we weep and we ask "Why?" Many reasons come out. In this case, several reasons have already been proposed, including that the shooter was an Islamist, that he was mentally ill, and that he was homophobic. It's also worth noting his parents are from Afghanistan and he could have been upset by what is happening in that country.
Then there is the corollary that we are not vigilant enough and we allow these things to happen. The killer was investigated not once, but twice, by the FBI, which never charged him. Yet, should this not have raised a red flag when he legally obtained two guns days before the shooting? And there is always the argument against the availability of high-powered weaponry that is obviously not meant for hunting deer. There is also the argument that the writers of the Constitution meant the 2nd Amendment to apply to a "well-regulated militia," not the proliferation of automatic guns and other weapons among unregulated, private citizens. One can easily point to countries in Europe and elsewhere that see far less gun violence because they regulate guns better than we do (they still see violence, but not on the same scale). Furthermore, the NRA argument that more guns, not fewer, is the answer is patently absurd. We have more guns than ever in private hands, yet the problem grows worse every week.
All of the above are valid points to be made and could all be factors that led to the shooting deaths of 50 people, but I like to keep things simple. The problem is much deeper than gun laws and prejudice and religious zealotry. The problem is a fundamental flaw in human nature to hate what we don't understand or what we fear.
Even now after this heinous act we see people spreading their venom about gay people, making matters worse. The infamous nutbag Pat Robertson has said that it is God punishing us because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is constitutional. And Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick posted a tweet that you "reap what you sew" (he has deleted the comment, but not before thousands saw what kind of person he truly is).
Why do people feel this way? Why do people spread hatred and commit acts of violence? In the case of gay hatred, my theory is that the worst perpetrators are the ones who have doubts about their own sexual feelings and use hatred as a way to deny them (how many times have you read stories of anti-gay senators or ministers being caught with their hands in the masculine cookie jar?)
But to be less specific, more generalized, the reasons are fear and ignorance. Why do countries go to war? Because they fear they do not have enough power and resources and they are vulnerable unless they conquer their neighbors. Why are people prejudiced against other cultures? Because they are ignorant about how others live, and they fear that which they do not understand. Why do Islamists kill people? Because they have been misled into believing that other people hate their God and don't respect Him. Why does the U.S. government have the biggest military in the world with bases all over the planet? Because we mistakenly believe that if others do not govern as we do or have capitalistic economies then they are a threat, and we also believe that we are wiser and more free than anyone, which just isn't so. Why do some people hate furries? Because they believe all the crap they see on TV and on the Internet and they are afraid of people who behave in imaginative ways they don't understand.
So, is there a solution? You cannot solve all the problems of the world by yourself, true, but you can be part of the solution. Educate yourself and learn about other people not just people like yourself. Show love and kindness toward your fellow humans and to Nature. Shine light on the world by being an example of acceptance and charity. Meanwhile, also strive to achieve inner peace and a connection with the universe. (By the way, this is also directed at those furries who seek to create division within our own ranks).
The Orlando shooting and other similar crimes serve as an example to all of us of what not to do, and how not to react when you are troubled or angry. The person who killed all those innocents is now dead. We cannot exact revenge, and to be angry and bitter offers no salvation.
The only way to fight ignorance is with education, and the only way to fight hatred is with love.
That is the lesson here.
Grubbs "Papabear" Grizzly
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