we are a gentle, angry people...

After the Newtown Massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that murdered 20 first graders and six adults, some so-called "smart" liberals I know regularly told me that the problem wasn't actually illegal gun ownership in America: registration is up and people are following the law. No, the real issues, they insisted, had to do with mental illness treatment, as well as a cultural divide in America. And as I grieve my sisters and brothers in Orlando the day after 50 LGBTQ dancers were slaughtered and another 53 allies in love were injured, I know that the "smart" people continue to be right. The weapons in question were, indeed, purchased legally and there was, perhaps, a measure of mental instability involved.

Further, I recognize that there is a minor, albeit significant, technical distinction between a military grade assault weapon and the rapid fire weapons unloaded on innocent revelers inside Pulse. I accept, too that in a diverse society, not everyone shares the same ethic of life that I do nor respects an individual's right to love freely, openly and safely. Nevertheless, the time has come to use our laws in the way Dr. King once addressed so that a violent, fear-based culture is held in check. Speaking in 1963, MLK observed that there was a need for civil rights laws saying:

... the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there’s half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.

So from my starting place of compassion - as well as anger and lament - there is now a need to banish the sale and possession of easily manipulated assault weapons in the USA.  (check it out here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-susan-brooks-thistlethwaite/ban-assault-weapons-now-a_b_10443846.html) And while this would best be done by a truly grassroots effort, there is no reason to believe that 50 gay murders will be any more compelling to the NRA and its legions than the sight of twenty first graders lying in their own blood in a Connecticut elementary school. Straight allies need to get off the dime on this. Smart liberals need to get out of their heads and get into the streets (while using their wisdom to advance the cause, too.) And obstructionists need to get out of the way because enough is enough. The perverted use of the Second Amendment must come to a close and our bondage to the ghouls driving the NRA must be broken.

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