Image courtesy of NY Daily News
At approximately 2:00AM local time on Sunday 12th June, a gunman that has been confirmed as Omar Mateen entered the popular gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando. When inside, he proceeded to initiate a hostage situation, taking hostage of the 320 individuals within the club. At the time of writing this, approximately 50 people have been killed, leaving 53 hospitalised due to the inflicted wounds before he himself was shot and killed. This was 1052nd mass shooting to occur in just 1066 days. The deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The events of last night are a result of hate and homophobia, a crime inflicted upon homosexual individuals in the midst of Pride Month, a time in which to celebrate their sexuality and gender, a time of safety within the community. This situation has only been made direr by the law passed in Florida, preventing those who have had intercourse with a same-sex partner from donating blood, blood that is vital to those hospitalised by the incident. The fact that the bigotry towards the LGBT community in Florida has not only lead to the initial loss of life, but that it may lead to more deaths as a result of a lack of blood supplies, an issue which can be easily solved by allowing the many LGBT individuals eager to donate to do just that and donate blood.
Events like these only beg the question: are guns now a necessary form of protection? And, as an individual external to issues revolving around guns and the right to bear arms, the answer is clue. It is no longer time to merely tighten the rules on gun control, but to ban the possession and sale of firearms. We may have once lived in a world where the right to firearms was necessary but that is no longer the case and, when paired with the country’s ongoing issues with racism and homophobia, will undoubtedly lead to events such as those of last night. Events in which an individual has the power and means to commit atrocious crimes of hate and violence, based purely on the shooter’s personal biases towards, in this case, the homosexual community.
Over the years, the US has experienced a vast number of mass shootings, ranging from the shootings at Virginia Tech that left 32 dead, to the Charleston shootings, leaving 9 dead. All of which awful incidences of violence and terror, in which great numbers were killed. But last night, as mentioned prior, was the deadliest mass shooting in American history, a crime committed out of hatred and enabled by the casual homophobia and relaxed control on guns that plague the United States and that, because of this same homophobia, many who are desperate to help by donating blood are unable to.
To conclude, the Pulse Shooting causes us to ask one fundamental question, a question with a clear answer: how do we prevent hate crimes like that which occurred last night in Orlando? The answer is simple, cast away the Second Amendment, ban firearms, and, ultimately, take steps to prevent homophobia and hatred.