Mourning and mobilizing
This month, Americans will show that love is stronger than hate. Millions will take part in celebrations of LGBT pride, and Muslims will fast as they observe the holy month of Ramadan. Just last week, we remembered those gunned down at a Charleston Bible study a year ago—killed by one man, but loved and missed by countless others.
And in the coming days, mourners will attend funerals, memorial services and vigils for loved ones murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, most of whom were gay and Latino.
Undoubtedly, in the weeks to come, the ugly rhetoric about bathroom bills, building walls, and barring people of an entire faith from entering this country will continue. Muslim women who wear the hijab may wonder if that is tantamount to a target.
Patrons of gay establishments may worry, as churchgoers did after Charleston, that sanctuaries where they had felt joy, community and the comfort of being themselves are now unsafe. And no doubt, there will be more gun deaths—anaverage of 90 people die from gun shots each day in the United States, vastly more than in any other developed country. This is madness.
Republicans acceded to Sen. Chris Murphy’s remarkable filibuster last week calling for votes on gun legislation, but then they vowed to defeat the measures. The best hope of addressing America’s gun problem lies with the majority of Americans, including gun owners, who support stricter gun regulations.
We must call out the hypocrisy when elected officials offer condolences after gun violence in one breath and defend civilians’ right to own weapons of war in the next. With each successive mass shooting, I have grown convinced that a massive civic crusade on the order of the civil rights movement is necessary to force the hands of the gun lobby and their allies in elected offices.
This must end.
The aim of the Orlando attack was to murder people like me, an LGBT American. So this is personal. But gun massacres have also taken place in schools, theaters, malls, churches, synagogues and office buildings. This must be personal for all of us.
We may never fully eradicate the hatred and instability that drove the shooters in Newtown, Aurora, Charleston, San Bernadino and Orlando. But we can and must do two things: take a stand against the hateful rhetoric that is seeping into Mourning and mobilizing: