Monday, June 13, 2016

Why Orlando?

A man with a Middle Eastern sounding name dials 911 and pledges allegiance to ISIS, then walks into a gay nightclub with a legally purchased assault rifle with a high capacity magazine and begins mowing down 50 of his fellow Americans and injuring 50 others. Witnesses claim he was laughing.

The dead have not been buried and we have already gone to our battle stations. The Orlando shooting is the fault of...

Muslims
Homophobia
Guns
Democrats
Republicans
Obama
Trump
Violent video games
Religion

What if it is none of these things? Suppose it's all of these things in varying degrees? What does it matter less than 24 hours after 50 souls have been snuffed out? Can we as Americans not go one day without turning every single tragedy into a political football? The answer is...no. No, we can't.

Trump was first on Twitter reminding everyone that he was right about his idea of a Muslim ban. Only, a Muslim ban would not have prevented anything in this case since the shooter was a US citizen.

Obama refused to concede the shooter's professed connection to ISIS saying only that it was an act of hate, further confirming his clueless and steadfast refusal to acknowledge the role that radical Islamic ideology plays in the ongoing terror of the 21st century.

Gun control advocates immediately laid the blame on lax gun laws. But, in a country with 200 million guns in circulation, who seriously believes that a radicalized terrorist would have been prevented from getting his hands on weapons by the existence of stronger gun laws? You and I maybe, but determined sociopaths? It's an absurdly naive notion. Besides, we already have rules in place that should have prevented the target of two FBI investigations over possible ties to terrorists from purchasing a weapon. What good did that law do? Still, reasonable people can and should ask why it is that private citizens in this country should be allowed to buy guns like this:


Seriously? What the heck would anyone need a weapon like this for? If you are using this for hunting then you're no sportsman and a horrendous shot. If you're using this to play Rambo at the local gun range, then you're very weird. If you want one of these to protect yourself one day from like zombies or hordes of rapist and stuff...whatever. But, if what you want is a gun that can kill multiple people with maximum efficiency, then well, this AR-15 is for you. Is there a way that people like me who believe in the 2nd amendment concede that the intent of the framers probably didn't include access to mass human slaughter automatic weapons? Just asking...

Some have laid all of this on Islam. Just weeks before this massacre a local Orlando Imam sermonized that gays must be killed...out of compassion. Others have tried to suggests that conservative Christianity's opposition to gay marriage is no better, so we Christians have no room to criticize Islam. When I hear this sort of sophistry, my blood begins to boil. To equate the peaceful opposition to a redefinition of marriage with the religious sanctioning of mass murder is beyond ridiculous and not worthy of a response. But neither is it responsible to assume that all Muslims agree with the ramblings of an Orlando Imam or even the views of millions of other Muslims. Have you noticed how many different denominations of Protestantism there are around the world? We Christians can't even agree on how to properly baptize someone. Heck, we can't even agree on what salvation even is half the time, and yet we ascribe to all Muslims the most heinous beliefs of the loudest and most radicalized few?

Here's the deal. Everything on the list above has played some sort of roll in the mess we find ourselves in regarding terrorism and the culture of violence that we are living in today. No one has clean hands. There is none who is righteous, no not one...All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God...The way forward will require some humility from all of us on both sides of every barricade. Is it possible? Are we beyond the ancient entreaty...Come, let us reason together?