I have been silent. I have been silent in the face of the latest shooting in Orlando simply because I don’t know what to say. I have been silent because I’m not sure what more I can say other than this has to stop. And, I’ve said that before. I’ve argued with friends and enemies about the value of guns in our society. I’ve discussed with loved ones and strangers the vagaries of Constitutional rights. I’ve lost friends because of my belief that humanity as a whole outweighs being a Christian or Muslim or brown or white, or being a member of the LGBTQIAPK community, or a gun owner, or a social justice warrior, or an environmentalist, or someone who is mentally ill.
But, I will be silent no more.
We are all humans on this planet. Regardless of what label you put on yourself or others, you are a member of humanity which entitles you to treat every other member of that 7 billion plus population with respect, dignity, and love. You, whoever you are, do not get to judge what is right or wrong as though you have some moral ascendancy above anyone else. I’m not better than anyone who reads this, or has it read to them, or has it translated for them. And they are not better than me. We all exist on this planet for a short time and we owe it to one another, despite the labels, to be kind and generous to every member of our shared humanity.
My silence carried with it an implicit approval that everything is fine and everything is not fine. There are a great many wrongs in the world, in this country, in this state, but one thing I can no longer be silent about is the use of guns as weapons of mass destruction. This is what they are. Yes, I have friends who are responsible gun owners who will debate this with me to the end of time. But, guns are designed, manufactured, and sold to destroy things. They have no other purpose. Those things can be animals, targets, or as has been the case of late, people, but guns do not help humans. They are used to intimidate, frighten, attack, and destroy any number of things on this planet, but one thing they do not do is enable humans to engage with each other in a peaceful manner.
I have heard the arguments. They are no longer valid in the face of willful destruction of humanity. You’re welcome to challenge that notion if you feel so inclined. I’m not above changing my opinion in the face of overwhelming evidence, but I assure you that this is going to be a tough row to hoe. I will no longer stand idly by and allow guns to become a normative value in human society. They do not have a place in my home and they should not have a place in this world.
I will be silent no more.