#guncontrol #orlando #democracy #mentalhealth

United We Stand

Photograph: Associated Press, Harvard GazetteThe shooting was mourned around the world, including in the Philippines, where a youth activist had his face painted to honor the victims.

For those of you interested in the recent tragedy in Orlando, in gun control and politics in the U.S. just now: I know that many of you are not American, but are nevertheless deeply affected by events in the U.S. These are important issues that affect us all.

I too find it tragic, infuriating, frustrating, challenging, and yet potentially hugely transformational for so many **{ if }** we can figure it out, and act. Fortunately, there *are* some powerful minds on the job, including yours.

I am no expert on anything in particular, but I love reading commentary from people who are. I also love reading commentary from my deep-thinking, writer-esque friends, many of whom have been capturing the essence of things much more eloquently than I can (also given the time of year in NYC for a mom and other things I’ve got going on just now … ) and so I’ve compiled here some of my favorite quotes on the subject written during the past few days. I sought to pull out those threads that seem most meaningful, that resonated most strongly with me; that felt insightful, and potentially constructive.

I vote that we continue to talk about it, even if or when it might cause bumps in friendships (when our opinions may not be fully in synch). We do need to see a way through this, together. And the more we talk about it, the more likely change will happen. Divided we fall.

How to Curb The Madness – Harvard Gazette:

"The answer to “How to stop it?” is a long way from being answered because we first need to define what “it” is, and then what causes “it.” Taking a medical approach, you can’t develop a treatment until you know what the illness is, and if you are going to prevent the illness, you need to know the cause.

In terms of “it,” this was an act of extremist violence. Labeling it as “right wing” or “Islamic extremist” makes us feel better because we have attached a label and it allows for blame to be laid on a specific group. But it does not point the way to prevention, except for those who think most simplistically and favor exclusion of broad categories of people based on their religion and ethnicity and/or jettisoning the Constitution. Both are wrong-headed and destructive, but the fear mongering makes for what some consider good politics. In fact, such simplistic solutions are exactly what extremists want because it would tear at the heart of our society."


Towards the Freedom That Binds Humanity – Douglas Brooks:

"While we cannot compel others to share our religious values, we can disempower and marginalize those who will not share in our humanity by tolerating their views only on the periphery of democracy. We will not all agree but what have we taught each other about inclusion that confers human dignity? When we are not educated to appreciate human differences and the role of religions in history, how can we engage in serious conversation or use the tools of argument? Do we refuse to invest in the public good because there is too much profit to be gained and too little shared conscience? Change will be incremental because all of these issues require time, effort, and seriousness. Our outrage is justified, no doubt. But outrage can, at best, inspire a meaningful process, it cannot create a durable result. To create a deeper humanity, we will need to learn more about how differences make us human and how we are only the "same" in the dignity of our differences."



Some of my friends’ Facebook posts:

"I have been trying not to vent, but I have yet to see the perspective that demands attention. It is not about ISIS; and it is not entirely about gun control....at least not on its own. Orlando is about mental illness. The guy may have been gay, maybe not. Maybe ISIS resonated with him because he was struggling with his own demons. The only thing that matters is that he was mentally ill and our society conveniently ignored him. Obama is right! This is our problem. And we have to take care of our people!"
~ Lawrence, San Francisco

"I see lots of different stories about orientation –try not to believe everything you read; this is political rhetoric to divide the people. It doesn't matter if all the victims in Orlando were gay or even straight, Muslim, Jewish, from Europe or Africa... they are people just like in any massacre. I know racism and phobias are rife in modern society but politicians will use tragedies like Orlando for their own benefit. Using fear and security to create their own pockets of people. Separating the people. It is the same with the EU referendum or the police shootings in America. Separatism!!! People power is the only power and the more they label us and divide us the more power of control we give the state. The people united is what the 1% fear most."
~ Dylan, London

"I guess all I can or want to say is simply to echo the words of Harvey Milk spoken over 40 years ago -
“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet shatter every closet door.” ~Harvey Milk
Despite a deep well of sadness today, I still know this: We must work tirelessly for peace. For love. For forgiveness and understanding. For gun control. For mental health resources. We must work harder to eradicate poverty and hunger and hate. We cannot turn back time to stop this shooting, but we have the opportunity to let these bullets shatter every closet door."
~Amy, New Jersey