Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Espouse grief, not guns

"Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?"

Orlando, Florida. June 11, 2016. Pulse, a gay nightclub. The American-born son of immigrants from Afghanistan. Ties to radical Islam. An AR-15. The deadliest mass killing in modern U.S. history. All the elements to reignite raging debates over gun control, immigration laws and sexual morality.

Here are the names of some of the dead.
  • Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
  • Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
  • Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
  • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
  • Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
It's sobering that social media exploded with passionate defenses of the right to gun ownership that almost drowned out expressions of sorrow and compassion.

Here are more names of the dead.
  • Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
  • Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
  • Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
  • Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
  • Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Yesterday on Facebook, a good friend of mine posted a petition at to "Ban Assault Weapons Now."

Because I have challenged myself to be more authentic and less conflict-avoidant, I shared it.

The first comment I got was this.
Please get your facts straight - the AR-15 is NOT an assault weapon - do your research and you will see why it was never banned in the first place.
I don't pretent to know anything about gun models, so I did a little research. AR-15 rifles are lightweight, gas-operated, high-capacity-magazine-fed semi-automatic weapons with military-spec triggers.

There is no categorial definition of an "assault weapon" in the USA. Among regulating jurisdictions, the definition usually includes semi-automatic firearms. A semi-automatic gun requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge, whereas a fully automatic weapon shoots multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger.

As it turns out, the rifle Omar Mateen used in the Orlando shooting was a Sig Sauer MCX rifle, operated by gas piston technology, the same technology used in the AK-47, a selective-fire assault weapon. But that's neither here nor there.

What is here or there is that certain models of the AR-15 were among the firearms banned under the federal assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004, when Congress allowed the ban to expire.

So I'll conclude that my commenter needs to do her own research.

Here are the names of others who died in the Orlando massacre.
  • Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
  • Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
  • Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
  • Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
My next commenter came up with an old stupid tired lie.
Guns are not the problem. Geez!!!! PEOPLE are the problem. Guns themselves don't kill.
I had a good response but I was trying to not jump into the fray. In fact, I was hovering between deleting my share of the petition post and waiting to see if my thread would just die a natural death.

My response would have been the tomato analogy. Knives don't slice tomatoes, people slice tomatoes. But when people slice tomatoes without a knife, the sharper the better, it' s a lot slower and messier.

Luckily, a less conlict-avoidant friend jumped in, took no prisoners, and spared me.
That is such total bullshit that it makes me want to vomit.
Here are some more names of the dead.
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
  • Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
  • Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
  • Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
  • Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
The comments continued on my post, and I broke my resolve to maintain a laissez faire distance. I reverted to my comfort zone, walking the line, finding middle ground. I tried this comment.
Some believe guns are the problem, some don't. We aren't going to resolve the controversy here. I didn't write the petition, I just shared it. I personally believe that unrestricted access to high-capacity-magazine-fed semi-automatic weapons enables deranged people to more efffectively kill mass numbers of blameless people. If you disagree, please scroll on by.
More of the dead.
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
  • Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
  • Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
  • Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
  • Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
It didn't work of course. The first ugly response was "Why not ban the Muslims?"

I thought about answering like this.
Beacuse Seung-Hui Cho, Adam Lanza, George Hennard, James Oliver Huberty, Charles Whitman, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Jiverly Wong, Aaron Alexis.
But I didn't. Someone else had a more succinct response. "Moron."

Yet more of those dead.
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
  • Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
  • Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
  • Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
  • Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
As the day aged, the filters got thinner. I noticed unfamiliar names. I don't really know all of my more than 1,000 Facebook friends well, I know there are some whose politics and takes on social issues are about 180 degrees from mine, but most express themselves politely. I don't require that all my friends agree with me or think the way I do, as long as they keep it civil.

My Facebook privacy settings are set to public. I don't post anything that I'm not comfortable with anyone seeing. But when people who aren't even friends of friends, just Facebook randoms, start making repugnant comments on my post, it's time to lock things down a bit.

I changed the privacy setting on my post to friends of friends, and in another first, I deleted vitriolic comments by strangers that were not meant to facilitate dialog.

Still more people who were killed.
  • Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
  • Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
  • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
  • Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
From where I stand, nothing has changed since I posted my thoughts after the Sandy Hook slaughter.
When the framers of the Second Amendment wrote that "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" I'm quite certain that they didn't envision semi-automatic weapons in the hands of private citizens.
More dead.
  • Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
  • Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
  • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
  • Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Arguably, giving logical grammatical meaning to the preamble of the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms exists only for individuals for the purpose of serving in the militia.

Notwithstanding logic and grammar, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected to service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Still more dead.
  • Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
  • Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
  • Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
  • Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
  • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Across the United States, wherever there are more guns, people are at higher risk for firearm homicides. Among developed countries, wherever guns are more available there are more homicides.

Conversely, firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation.
Also dead in Orlando.
  • Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
  • Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
  • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
  • Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
A gun in the home is 11 times more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide, 7 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault or homicide, and 4 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting death or injury than to be used in a self-defense shooting.
So, as our hearts go out to the families of the dead and wounded in the wake of fanatic maniac Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, let us spare a thought for the roughly 31 victims of homicide and 56 casualties of suicide downed by guns every single day in America.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

(Bob Dylan)

1 comment:

LMW said...

Perfect! I love this!

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz