Today, We Are Deprived of Our Time to Mourn for the Victims in Orlando

Orlando Victims Deserve Real Action, Not Endless Debate and Speculation

I am saddened, horrified, and angered by the tragedy that occurred in Orlando this morning — but what also shocks me is that this is no surprise. Horrific acts like these are not unexpected any longer. This is the norm in America. But you know what? Save your thoughts and prayers this time.

There is no time to mourn right now. No time to speculate or play politics. No time to pray or give respect. No time to be in solidarity with the victims and their families. We don’t have the time. Would be victims don’t have the time. We don’t have the time to give our basic humanity in America.

There is a mass shooting in this country nearly every day. But, today, June 12, 2016, in the United States of America, we grieve the worst mass shooting in American history with more than 50 dead and likely rising. As we go about our days today, innocent people are losing their lives in a hospital in Florida. The voices of loved ones have already gone silent.

Whether connections to terrorist groups, hate groups, Islam, Christianity — whether the shooter is mentally ill, deranged, black or white — whether targeting innocent African Americans, the LGBT community, Planned Parenthood, or young children with their whole lives in front of them — there is one common denominator: gun access in America.

A mass shooting nearly every single day. The Voice star Christina Grimmie lost her life to a gun one night before in Orlando. The same city. Two consecutive nights. The best thing we can do is act before tomorrow’s atrocity like our own lives depend on it. Save your opinions. Facts are facts. We cannot waste a second protecting innocent lives.

Whether or not the shooter — don’t say his name, don’t give him a place in history as the media does — had a connection to ISIS or not, he was an American citizen who too easily and legally obtained a machine designed to do nothing more than to inflict carnage and senseless death. No civilian in America needs an AR-15, which was used in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and now the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

The fact is guns are a major part of the problem. America is not the only country with mental health issues. We aren’t the only country inflicted with hate or terrorism. We are the only major country that has stricter regulation on driving cars than owning and using killing machines. We are likely the only major country that has giveaways of AR-15s.

As a member of this community, as an American, and as a human being, I will mourn and pay my respects, as should you — however you choose to — but our time is too short, and it won’t be enough. How many more people do we have to let die before we stop letting politics, distracting reconciliation, and the lust to be right overcome real action?

In 1996, Australia experienced the Port Arthur shooting massacre in which 35 innocents lost their lives. Following that, the country came together and did what’s right — enacted stricter, common sense gun regulation. Since then, the fact is they have not had a mass shooting of the scale, let alone a mass shooting every single day.

By the end of today, more than twice that many will probably have lost their lives in Orlando after a harmless night out with loved ones. Prayers, respects, and thoughts aren’t the solution alone. It’s time to call for action, Republican, Democrat, independent, Christian, Muslim, atheist, gay, straight, whoever or whatever else. We have real, policy solutions.

We know at the very least that guns are a central part of the problem. We must come together as a country — for real and once and for all — to do something about it.

A version of this post now appears on The Huffington Post Blog.