The Orlando Shooting Affects Us All

Today we are all citizens of Orlando.

Today we are all Floridians.

Today we are all Americans.

While we do not yet know the names of the victims of this senseless violence, we know how they died. We know what parents of children, siblings, and friends woke up to this morning. We see the results of carnage, destruction, hatred, and bullet wounds. Words like trauma, casualty, critical condition, and terrorism flash across the ticker tape at the bottom of the screen and in a way it has all become numb.

This has happened too many times.

We see a rehearsed scene at the White House in which President Obama takes the stage to denounce actions of terror, hatred, and violence. We don’t know why it happened, but thousands will step up to help communities heal and join as one to fill the void that death leaves.

This is the 18th time that our president has come before the nation and denounced an act of heinous violence.

Whether it be children, men, women, christians, muslims, african americans, LGBTQ community members, or anyone else an attack on one American is an attack on all Americans.

I truly believe that it is now time after countless examples of failed policies to implement serious gun control reforms. The argument is simple: more screening, better screening, and more resources to law enforcement makes us all safer. The NRA line of “Obama is going to take your guns” is obviously false. There are more firearms in America than there are American citizens. We tried it their way, now it is time to try it the right way.

In Orlando there was an armed and uniformed cop on the scene, and they admirably did their duty to protect the citizens of Orlando. A deranged individual who is armed to the teeth with the intent to kill is extremely difficult to stop, and sadly a good guy with a gun was not the answer.

Think of guns like you would any other unsafe thing, like a car or boat for example.

To drive a car or take control of a boat you have to take a test, you have to insure the vehicle, and based on certain factors you have to pay more to drive or continue to insure a car or boat. Why can this not be the approach to gun ownership? We already restrict access of firearms to felons, those who can be screened for some mental health conditions, and a handful of other meaningful but minimal criteria. We do not let those who do not know the rules of the road drive a car. We do not let those who are not licensed drive a boat. Why do we just let some people stock up on assault weapons at a gunshow? The operation of a motor vehicle and the usage of a firearm are both dangerous and difficult things to do properly. We should treat them the same way.

At this point I have lost hope in Congress to act because of the vocal and demented gun lobby, but maybe, just maybe, we can actually do something to stop this plague that is gun violence.

In the preamble to our constitution our government is given a list of specific tasks, and among those are the insurance of domestic tranquility, the establishment of justice, the promotion of the general welfare, and the providing of a common defense. Our government has failed our founding documents when it comes to gun control. A mass shooting disturbs the domestic tranquility. A refusal to act by Congress does not provide justice to the families of slaughtered Americans. Allowing thousands of gun deaths does not promote the general welfare. Military grade weapons in the hands of civilians does not bolster our common defense.

I can hear all the second amendment defenders now, screaming out about how I support the seizure of their guns and the diminishing of their freedoms.

A dead person has no freedom. If you think that a comprehensive background check and a short test are too large of a burden to owning a firearm, then likely you won’t be a responsible gun owner anyway. Take a stand, and do the right thing. Stop letting senseless murder happen in this country.

In the coming days we will learn the stories of even more Americans who fell prey to gun violence. We will come to know the lives they led, the things and people they loved, and paint a picture of someone who had so much life to live.

All Americans have a responsibility to stop this. And just like after so many other shootings failure is a possibility, but it is not an option. This fight continues until we do something about gun violence in our country.

So Congress, draft legislation and stop this cancer that takes more and more lives every year, every month, every day, and every hour. One more day will be too late.