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VIEWS The Problem is Fear: Gun Control and the LGBT Community in Orlando's wake
by Nadine Smith
2016-07-13

This article shared 440 times since Wed Jul 13, 2016
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I am a pretty good shot with a rifle.

I won a turkey shoot as a teenager. I have destroyed clay pigeons and discs skeet shooting with a double-barreled shotgun. I trained on an M-16, an adaptation of the AR-15.So when I talk about guns, I understand the allure - and the repulsion. I wore a uniform when I fired that M16. Civilians should not be walking about with that kind of firepower.

The Senate's failure to impose the bare minimum gun safety measures is unconscionable.I will do my best to remove these cowards from office for dereliction of duty.

But we make a mistake if we simply believe the NRA's dollars have purchased the conscience of legislators.

It isn't simply the money; it is the ideology of fear. It is their central story that the world is doomed to become a terrifying place of scarcity: that when the oil is gone and the water is scarce we will all go feral and only the strong will survive. Our decline cannot be halted; collapse is inevitable..

Will it be roving bands of "urban" home invaders that come for our families? Activated terrorist cells? A tyrannical government that will turn on the docile, weapon-less masses it is supposed to serve?

These are the fears, spoken by the survival cultists but whispered by an inner voice even to those who aren't huddled in camo gear as part of their make-believe militias.

They wish it were not so. They cannot accept the story that they are the bad guys, because they believe, when push inevitably comes to shove, we will be begging to join them as the boogeymen come for "decent people." They believe they have faced up to an inconvenient truth the rest of us want desperately to avoid. They have a story that is as logical and powerful to them as it is cynical and dangerous to us.:"I'm a good person. I'm not looking for trouble, but I will protect mine."

We may mock the "good guy with a gun" rhetoric, but the idea that a good heart and a weapon, real or imaginary, will save us inundates us daily. The simplicity of this ideology is as attractive as it is self-fulfilling. Their xenophobia, racism, and fear of all difference is what is eroding our social contract. Guns are not making us safer, as mass shootings and the normalization of daily carnage attest. In difficult times, we need each other. We are not islands. It is why we don't permit hoarding or price gouging in the wake of a hurricane. Our lives depend on cooperation.

These blaze of glory fantasies cannot be indulged. Weapons capable of mowing us down in our schools, theaters, places of worship, our nightclubs do not make anyone safer. These are weapons of mass slaughter, and their flow must be stopped. But we delude ourselves if we think this is simply a matter of money.

The problem is much deeper than money. The problem is fear.

Nadine Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, the state's largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


This article shared 440 times since Wed Jul 13, 2016
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