Join Prism Book Alliance® as Andrew Q Gordon goes Outside the Margins today.
Warning. This post contains content of a political nature. It is not the opinion of Prism Book Alliance or anyone other than me. If you don’t care for this kind of post, I’d not suggest reading it.
Typically my OTM posts are on the lighter side, flying kites with Mary Poppins, asking if folks would comment for a million dollars, channeling my inner Mr. Rogers and so on. I had planned something along those lines, and was going to show some pictures from the family beach vacation. But this weekend changed things.
By now everyone has read about the tragedy in Orlando. Let’s be clear, this is a tragedy not because it was at Pulse, a gay club, but because it happened. Again. Now there is news that the shooter was a frequent visitor to the club and had used ‘gay dating apps’ to meet other gay men. I don’t know what to make of that to be honest.
I could fill pages with my thoughts and comments on the why, but if the shooter was really ‘one of us,’ it is doubly painful. As President Obama said, Pulse, like many gay bars, was a safe haven. People felt safe inside. They could show affection for their partner or spouse without an earful of hate and vitriol. To take that away, even for a time is bad. That the one who took it away had found safety there himself?
What devastated me was how many young, promising lives were snuffed out. People who had only just begun to find themselves. The couples that died together. And the anguish of those they left behind.
But what infuriates me most is that nothing will change. If 20 children, people seeing a movie, church ladies praying with their pastor, or people at a holiday party being killed didn’t move the dial, the death of fifty mostly gay men at a gay club won’t change the debate. I knew that from the drop. And sadly, I was proven right.
Rather than even pay lip service to their deaths, Trump tried (maybe even succeeded) in moving the conversation from the horrific tragedy and how preventable it could have been, to banning people who had nothing to do with the event. Rather than engage in an honest discourse on how to remove even the barest few guns from the barest few people, the republican leadership engaged in a moment of silence. When a congressman from South Carolina asked Speaker Ryan when he would allow a vote on a gun control measure – a vote that would almost surely fail because the republicans have a majority and would vote it down – he yelled at the congressman who asked and told him he was out of order. Right, sorry, a moment of silence is way more helpful in preventing the next tragedy than trying to keep assault rifles out of people’s hands.
It’s incomprehensible that we can’t ban average people from buying assault rifles. What possible need can they have for them – other than killing large numbers of unarmed innocent people for no reason? You can’t hunt with them, you can’t take target practice with them, you can’t conceal them and carry them around for protection and if someone breaks into your house, how is having an assault rifle that won’t fit in your nightstand or anywhere else convenient going to help you?
The reality is, the republicans have rigged the system – legally – so they can and will block any gun control measure. They’ve done an amazing job of winning local elections and controlling the districting for the House of Representatives that they have a near unbeatable majority that will not even allow a vote on a measure to ban sales of assault rifles to people suspected of being a terrorist. Think about how stunning that is. They won’t allow even that tiny sliver of control.
But the rest of us collectively bear some of the blame. If the Democrats and their allies would come out and vote in local elections, and take control of the local and state governments, we would control the debate again. They congress could the laws to stop people from getting the most deadly weapons so easily. Will it prevent all such events? No, of course not, but it will make it harder to carry out. Sadly, that is too much effort. Voting every year is too much work. Once every two or four years is enough, right?
Unfortunately, this too will fade into the background and become just another ‘historical’ event. Our collective outrage will pass, just as it has with all the other mass shootings. And when it happens again – and it will – politicians will take to the stage and propose all kinds of things to stop it from happening again that won’t be even voted on and wouldn’t have worked if it had.
But they’ll still be able to have their moments of silence to pretend like they care. That makes me feel a whole lot better. How about you?
~Andrew Q Gordon
About Andrew Q Gordon
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of twenty years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.
On his website: www.andrewqgordon.com,
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon,
On Twitter: @andrewqgordon,
Or just email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashes of Life
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