George V. Reilly

50 Murdered in Orlando

I woke up this morning to news of another American massacre: a lone gunman had murdered 50 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and injured another 53 people. It was the worst mass shooting in US history and also the worst hate crime.

I put it out of my head for the afternoon while I attended an old friend’s wedding, but it’s been at the forefront of my mind ever since.

Only in America could we put up with massacre after massacre, yet not find the political will to do anything meaningful about gun violence. Craven politi­cians in thrall to the NRA mouth platitudes, but will not make any changes. We banned box cutters and bottles of liquid on planes after single incidents, yet somehow we cannot do anything to reduce the number of guns or to restrict the ease with which they can be bought, no matter how many people are shot each day.

The same politi­cians who refuse to do anything about guns are also the ones who’ve been whipping up fear about the other: building a wall to keep Mexicans out, banning trans­sex­u­als from bathrooms, screaming to ban Muslims, whipping up racial animus against black people. The drumbeat of hatred and fear grows ever louder.

I went to a vigil tonight at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, which gave me some hope that there are people of good will out there. We need more people to say enough, loudly and implacably.

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