Pray for Orlando

pulse

Anyone who reads this blog regularly (and anyone else who’s seen the right articles) know that I lived for a time in Orlando, Florida, and that my husband is a native.  They (clearly!) know by now of my love for Orlando City SC, the predecessors of which I saw playing in the same stadium the MLS team uses now, to far smaller crowds back in 1986 or 1987.  They know that I attended Rollins College in nearby Winter Park.

They don’t know of my appreciation for Orlando, if not the same love I have for my native soil of Michigan.  My husband is one reason, of course, and his family, who have lived in the area since the 1910s.  Despite the tremendous buildup and overcrowding there since I moved to Florida in 1980, there are still many areas of beauty and interest, and I don’t speak of Disney.  If I absolutely must live in the south, then my sorrow for the state where I live now, but I’d rather be in Orlando than anywhere else.

This is why the murders of June 12, 2016 move me.  Orlando, like any large city, has its share of crime, of shootings and murders; but never anything on this scale before.  This is something completely foreign to the area.  It makes me fearful on several counts:

  • I fear for the lives that may yet be lost by those who were injured but not killed outright by the shooter
  • I fear for the inevitable political backlash against Muslims, since the shooter apparently called 911 and stated that he pledged himself and his actions toward the terrorist cell which claims to be a nation-state
  • I fear even more for the reactions of area residents against their Muslim neighbors, based not on sense but on fear and suspicion, perpetuating the cycle of hate
  • I fear most of all for the lives yet to be lost before our political leaders finally ignore the NRA and similar “unconditional gun rights” lobbyists and pass effective gun control, eliminating or strongly limiting the right to possess AR-style weapons by individuals

The last may not be a popular stand, and surely won’t be among many of my neighbors here in Alabama.  But how many of the mass shootings over this past few years have been done by crazies who have gotten hold of assault-style rifles one way or another?  There’s no need for an individual who’s a competent shot to have such a gun; it’s surely not needed for hunting, unless you’re lazy and want to “field-dress” your deer into hamburger on the spot.  And if it’s suggested that we need this right to “protect our liberties from the government,” well, I’d worry more about the individuals with the private ARs than the government….  (The Michigan Militia, and similar “militia organizations,” have worried me for years.)

I don’t argue here with the right to keep and bear arms — I do argue against an unconditional right.  The need for that is gone; we no longer live in a country that’s mostly frontier, facing potential threats coming from the forest.  We need to recast the argument in the proper context, and get these things off the street, before more innocents are killed.  I recognize the “radicalizing Islamist” aspect of Sunday’s crime as well, but this was not a crime committed on order.  The shootings were committed by a single man who had been deluded by a pack of hyperzealous fools, and does not represent the beliefs and principles of all Muslims.  I have known many Muslims in my life, especially in my university days; serve many at my workplace; and we all know of at least one prominent Muslim among our many Second Life bloggers, who is just as concerned for those whose lives are lost — and, if I may, who I suspect is filled with worry and grief for her coreligionists who are innocent of any crime.

This article will remain at the top of the blog, and the blog’s background will go to black, for one week in memory of those killed in Pulse.  I ask you to join me in prayer to your faith for those dead, for the survivors, for the relatives, and for the government to find sanity and deal properly with the scourge that threatens innocent lives every day.

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The above is a personal opinion by Harper Ganesvoort, and is added to this blog with the endorsement of her co-authors.

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