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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Be Kind To One Another...

By now I am sure that most of you have heard about what is being called the worst mass shooting in American history. 

In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, at least fifty people were shot dead, and another fifty more seriously injured following a massive shooting by a man carrying an assault rifle inside of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  The club is one of Orlando's top nightlife spots for the LGBT community, and many people in the area are grieving their loved ones, and wondering what would possess someone to do something so horrible.

This comes just one day after 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie - a contestant from the NBC singing competition "The Voice" was gunned down after a performance in that same city.

Certainly it hasn't been a great weekend for "The Sunshine State".

I honestly am at a loss as to what to think.  Already people are calling for stricter gun laws - and honestly I can't say that I blame them.  There is absolutely no reason why a civilian should ever be granted permission to have an assault rifle on their possession.  But that's just how I feel.  I definitely don't believe in banning firearms altogether, but I think a lot more could be done to prevent them from getting into the hands of those who would use them for all the wrong reasons.  And while I would love to try and come up with a way to make it that easy to do, I honestly don't know how to come up with a solution that the majority of people would agree with.

Then there's the context of where the massive shooting took place.  It took place in a club that was frequented by people who identify themselves as homosexual.  I honestly feel that in 2016, we've definitely become more accepting of people as a whole, and I certainly want my gay, lesbian, and transgender friends to have the same rights as their straight counterparts.  Although we still don't know very much about the reason why the shooting took place, it is suspected that it was a terrorist attack.  And to me, that's incredibly chilling that someone would hate an entire group of people to the point that they would barge into a nightclub and just randomly start shooting at people.

It's cowardly and senseless.

So, what do we do about it so that something like this doesn't happen again?  As much as I hate to say it, I don't think that there's a whole lot of things we can do.  Unfortunately with most people getting their news through smartphones, we tend to hear about these sorts of things minute by minute as they happen.  And it seems as though no matter where you look, there is always someone who is trying to use their "freedom of speech" to denounce entire groups of people, humiliate people who think differently than they do, or attack people physically and emotionally because they happen to be in love with someone of the same sex.  In fact, no sooner than a couple of hours after the shootings broke, homophobic people were praising the shootings on social media. 

That's disgusting and tacky. 

To me, I don't believe that people who attack others in this way should even be given a soapbox...but unfortunately we live in a world where everyone deserves the right to have one.  But could you imagine the impact one might have if they used that soapbox to promote positive feelings? 

I honestly follow the advice that Ellen DeGeneres gives out at the end of every single one of her shows.  "Be kind to one another".  And you know what?  She is bang on.  I honestly don't know why so many people turn bitter or hold on to hatred for so long?  I mean, when you consider that it takes more effort to frown than it does to smile, doesn't that tell you something?  I know that on days in which I have not had a great experience and someone has pissed me off, I feel so emotionally drained afterwards.  Yet when I have a positive experience with people, I feel more energized. 

So, here's what I am going to do.  I'm going to open up discussion here for us to talk about what happened.  And, I want everyone to know that while I will respect everybody's opinions on this subject, I will not tolerate nastiness or comments that are racist, homophobic, or demeaning.  I will delete them.  There's no place for that here.

And to anyone who was personally impacted by this tragedy, my heart goes out to all of you.  You never deserved this.  And I want all of you to know that you all have a pal in me.  I'm sure many others around the world will be there for all of you too.

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