Monday, November 21, 2022

Guns and Hate

As many Americans head home for Thanksgiving, there are some who will not be heading home.

That’s because on Saturday, there was yet another mass shooting at a gay bar in Colorado, where five people were killed and many more were injured.

There have been over 600 mass shootings so far this year. That’s more than one every day.

I know we’ve become numb to the frequency of mass shootings in America, but we can’t allow that to happen.

I can’t allow that to happen. I’m too angry.

In the past few years, in addition to seeing people targeted and killed because they were LGBTQ (and, particularly, because they were trans), we’ve seen people targeted and killed because they were Black, Jewish, Asian, and Mexican. We cannot allow this hatred to continue.

But the thing that allows someone who is homophobic or racist or antisemitic to kill people, and the thing that often gets left out of the conversation, is guns.

And I’m tired of the excuses.

Don’t tell me it’s a “mental health” issue. Other countries have people who are mentally ill, but they don’t have anywhere near the level of gun violence America has. Not even close.

Nevertheless, now that Republicans are poised to take over the House, we also know that nothing will change.

And don’t tell me not to politicize a mass shooting. It is political.

That’s why we have laws. The number one responsibility of our elected officials is to protect the health and safety of Americans. And they are failing to do that.

That’s why I want President Biden to sign an executive order to ban assault weapons. And while he’s at it, he should also ban high-capacity magazines and body armor.

No one needs any of these things for “self-protection” or “hunting,” so I’m calling bullshit on Republicans and the gun lobby. I don’t even want to hear it. And I can’t wait another two years for things to change.

And let’s talk about the other thing that often goes unmentioned: hate.

While antisemitism and racism have become unacceptable (at least ostensibly), it seems that it’s still OK to target LGBT people (and, as I said, particularly trans people).

We just had a campaign season where LGBT people (and trans people in particular) were the centerpiece of many Republican campaigns.

And what message is Ron DeSantis sending with his “Don’t Say Gay” bill? He saying that LGBT people are second-class citizens and don’t deserve the same rights and protections as other Americans.

The fact that LGBT people are being targeted for hate crimes is precisely why we need to educate children about LGBT people, if only to say, “Not everyone is a cis-gendered heterosexual, but they deserve to be treated with respect, just like everyone else.”

As for guns, we know that gun control works.

It’s no coincidence that the number of mass shootings went up after we let the assault weapons ban expire.

Other countries have figured this out. Why can’t we?

After just one mass shooting in New Zealand, they banned assault weapons in three days.

Why can’t we? How many more people have to die?

And I’d like to ask our politicians, (particularly our Republican politicians), “How can you live with yourself? How you can allow this to continue?”

And you know that it will, unless we do something about it.

How long will it be until the next mass shooting?

It’s time to stop treating gun violence as yet another “culture war” issue and instead treat it as a public health issue.

I can’t wait any longer. Enough already!

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