Saturday, June 18, 2016

More Love, Less Hate

How sad is it that we live in a world where we don't have to wonder IF some sort of terrorist attack and/or preventable tragedy will happen, but instead we have to wait and wonder and worry about WHERE and WHEN the next one will be?! Because we KNOW it's only a matter of time before there is ANOTHER mass shooting or some other senseless act of violence. So sad.

The latest brazen act of cruelty happened this past Sunday, June 12, at Pulse, a gay night club, in Orlando, Florida. The perpetrator was Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American-Afghan citizen born in New York. He entered Pulse around 2 AM, armed with a Sig Sauer MCX high-powered rifle, and a Glock 17 9mm handgun. He began shooting and when all was said and done, he had killed 49 people and injured 53 others. Mateen died in a shootout with the police when they stormed the night club after a three-hour standoff with him. This incident was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and the worst terrorist attack since September 11. This attack wasn't orchestrated by ISIS; however, Mateen (an apparent radicalized Muslim) placed a call to 911 about 20 minutes into the attack, pledging allegiance to ISIS.
This tragic event was definitely a crime of hate, as Mateen had been reported as being homophobic. He had been using different gay dating apps and had visited different gay night clubs in Orlando. Why? He was possibly staking out a location to carry out his attack, or perhaps he was secretly gay, but too ashamed to admit it, since this would definitely be against his Islamic faith. I, personally, suspect he may have been conflicted with his latent sexual tendencies that were undeniably in direct opposition to his religious views and family background. (I'm not saying that he was for sure homosexual, but that was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard he had been using gay dating apps and had been going to gay clubs.) 

I'm so sick of these shootings and terrorist attacks that have been happening with greater and greater frequency! In regards to this latest incident, I feel so badly, not only for the victims, their families and the gay community at large, but also for the entire country and world. As I've reflected on the incident these past few days, I cannot imagine the sheer terror that those poor victims must've felt as they realized what was happening. I also cannot imagine the panic that the victims' families must've experienced as they desperately tried to reach their loved ones. 49 young lives ended prematurely. The lengths that some people feel they need to go to are mind-boggling. Harming ANY human being and child of God is SO wrong! It's crazy what can happen in a day or a week. These individuals were still alive a week ago, and now their families are planning funerals. Life is SO unpredictable, and you NEVER know what will happen. 

The 49 young victims, most of them in their 20's and 30's:
I saw this on Facebook a few days ago. I don't know if it's a real quote from one of the police officers that was actually at the crime scene, but I can imagine that there's a good chance that this scenario–the victims' cell phones going off over and over as their family members desperately tried to get a hold of them–could/would be very realistic.
As awful as this act of aggression was, it's been heartwarming to see the outpouring of love, solidarity and support from othersmostly perfect strangerspouring in from all over the world. I never want a calamity like this to happen to anyone, anywhere, but it's nice to see the brotherly love, kindness and compassion that usually follows a tragedy like this. 

Check out these photos of the different shrines and vigils:
Here are pictures of President Obama and Vice President Biden paying their respects in Orlando on Thursday. They each laid a bouquet of 49 white roses on the memorial created for the victms.
The bottom line in all of this madness is that hate is wrong. It's okay to disagree with others and to have different points of view, but you have to disagree respectfully. And by all means, remember the golden rule.


Stephanie said...

Beautiful post, Heather. Thank you for your perspective -- I have read some very hateful reactions, unfortunately, to this homophobic and horrific act from some so-called "Christians." Thanks for putting love first.

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