It took no time at all. Before the tears had dried, or the survivors allowed to cope, or even the bodies identified, political agendas claimed the events in Orlando, Florida for their individual causes. For in the initial hours after the tragedy was reported, it became apparent that some political influences drove the senseless act of a lone killer. Certainly, newscasters’ “probable” reports without any confirmed data allowed the American public to once again be whipped into a frenzy, where the enemy (ISIS, Republicans, homophobes, radical Islamist terrorists, Orlando PD, the NRA, gun enthusiasts, Donald Trump, his supporters) was as varied as it was unknown.

The witch hunt commenced and we were left to discover that while each object of our scorn was no more responsible for the bullets fired than you or I, their unfazed response made them easy targets to absorb our pain. Blame for this event itself lies solely with the man who pulled the trigger and those in his life who did nothing to stop him. They will likely go unpunished in this lifetime.

That is the source of our anger. We are left speechless that anyone could intentionally cause so much grief and chaos, left indignant that no justice can be rightfully served, and left paralyzed at the assumption that this will not be the last time.

Outcry from the LGBTQ community is both expected and deserved. Many of the lives lost were proud LGBTQ individuals, slain by a man clearly with resentment toward homosexuality. In recent days, LGBTQ youth have been shown what older members of the community most likely already knew – feelings remain mixed on the subject of homosexuality, even in our “modern” American culture. Signs of unity, neutrality and condemnation have been witnessed varyingly – proving in the midst of tragedy, we are still unable to set aside prejudice and be human first.

However, in the cold light of day, and with details of the rogue tragedy finally coming together, our attention turns most likely away from equal rights, ISIS, or the election cycle to briefly focus on the sensitive issue of gun control. Briefly, because in so many instances before this, the conversation has made headlines without much action from either side of the congressional aisle. In this case, though, blame and cause have different offenders, and in light of symbolic moments over the past week, it is hopefully time this topic finally be given the attention it deserves in the age of the AR-15.

It is still too early to tell where all of this is headed. The wound is fresh and we, as always, remain hyper aware as a culture of politics when we lack solutions. However, we know we can do more. The battle cries have faded in the past. But, with protests in the Senate, members of our media finally taking bold stances, candidates now forced to address gun policy with new urgency, and a Boston Globe op/ed pushing Americans to rally around a ban on assault weapons – maybe, just maybe, we have finally had enough.

No, we cannot stop these events from happening. Our hearts say it is possible, while our minds know that the truly insane will find a way. The Boston Globe had the following to say on the matter:

“Would a better ban on semiautomatic assault weapons reduce the nation’s overall amount of violent crime? Research suggests not, but it would clearly reduce the violence of some crimes, particularly mass shootings like those in Newtown and Orlando.”

This time, we must recognize that the debate on guns should not be an absolutist feat. As a nation, we are not, and should not, be looking to enforce a “yes” or “no” on guns. There is a matter of the constitution to uphold. What we should be reaching toward is a ban on military grade weapons sold to civilians and a more rigorous and enforced background and psychological check of those who want to attain a gun, coupled with a longer waiting period. There is absolutely no reason a citizen cannot wait up to two weeks to have a live weapon in their hands. Anyone in need of a gun (especially a high powered gun) with haste should be raising a red flag.

And, most notably, what we are missing is clear and concise guidelines that state any person with suspected ties to terrorist activity, past or present, should be suspended from purchasing weapons without a full investigation into why the gun is necessary.

“And as a country, we know exactly what needs to be done to protect ourselves, because we’ve done it before: The National Firearms Act of 1934 rightly regulates the machine gun, and it could rightly regulate the semiautomatic assault rifle as well. We must hold our Congress accountable for arming criminals and terrorists with military-style weapons.”

There are very real issues that have come to prominence since the Orlando massacre – LGBTQ rights and equality, the prevailing influence of ISIS among our youth, undiagnosed and ignored mental illness. Such issues will need to be dealt with in time and with a firm grasp of what is exactly meant by “justice for all.” The matter that is most pressing, though, that requires our immediate attention and action, that demands our response – is currently available for sale to the general public for anyone who can wait 24 hours.

It is my opinion that we need to stop taking orders from lobbyists. We are out of time.  We have lost too many, and yet, not enough according to our elected Senators and Representatives, who wittingly enable our killers. We are out of time. Not to say “never again,” but to actually say we did something to save even one life. We are out of time. Because –

Stanley Almodovar III,

Amanda Alvear,

Oscar A Aracena-Montero,

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala,

Antonio Davon Brown,

Darryl Roman Burt II,

Angel L. Candelario-Padro,

Juan Chevez-Martinez,

Luis Daniel Conde,

Cory James Connell,

Tevin Eugene Crosby,

Deonka Deidra Drayton,

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez,

Leroy Valentin Fernandez,

Mercedez Marisol Flores,

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz,

Juan Ramon Guerrero,

Paul Terrell Henry,

Frank Hernandez,

Miguel Angel Honorato,

Javier Jorge-Reyes,

Jason Benjamin Josaphat,

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice,

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla,

Christopher Andrew Leinonen,

Alejandro Barrios Martinez,

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool,

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez,

Kimberly Morris,

Akyra Monet Murray,

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo,

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez,

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera,

Joel Rayon Paniagua,

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez,

Enrique L. Rios, Jr.,

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez,

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado,

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz,

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan,

Edward Sotomayor Jr.,

Shane Evan Tomlinson,

Martin Benitez Torres,

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega,

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez,

Luis S. Vielma,

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez,

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon,

Jerald Arthur Wright,

– because, they are out of time.

To our elected Senators and Representatives, and to you the citizens, when it pertains to the loss of innocent lives – one is enough.

Excerpts sourced from “Make It Stop,” published by The Boston Globe.


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