Orlando in My Heart

heart in orlando mum revised

I was going to tell you all about the conference I went to over the weekend. The fun I had. The learnings I gleamed. The connections I made. But the world changed while I was sleeping on my plastic dorm bed. Orlando happened.

Look, I don’t want to get into a gun control debate. As a Canadian, I think there is no debate. Gun control is necessary. But, just for fun, let’s play out a scenario.

I am a 16-year-old boy filled with angst, and I am so mad that my friend slept with my girlfriend, I could shoot him. In Canada, this kid sends a few angry texts, scares the girls in school with how he is talking. He cools down in 24-hours then hugs it out with his bro.

In the US, this same boy walks over to his father’s unlocked dresser drawer and removes a handgun. He walks up to the offender and threatens him. Things get heated. Shots fired. Lives changed.

Gun control means people have time to think about their actions because access is just not there. I don’t know why any person feels they need an assault rifle in their glovebox to feel safe or a Beretta in their diaper bag? Little Timmy has been getting awfully close to Sweetums’ goldfish crackers.

I found this helpful hint on the internet.

The other perfectly legal way to purchase any legal to own firearm is by private sale. Look in your local classified ads (Craigslist bans sale of guns) or there is likely a local facebook group. If someone has a Glock for sale and you can persuade them that you are legal to own a gun, it is legal for you to purchase it from them.

The right to bear arms was instituted, from what I can glean, because the Queen’s military was too far away to help and militia groups formed to fight the natives. Last I checked, the Queen’s military is still really far away, but police and the USA’s military are as close as they can get. Oh, and the natives appear to be under control. So, maybe it is time for a change?

Other things have changed since the right to bear arms made its way into the Constitution in 1787. Bathing was considered unhealthy; doctors didn’t use anesthetic for amputations or teeth removal; people lived until 34 years old. Slavery was commonplace.

This week’s fatal shooting in Orlando is another example of a good thing gone wrong. Please stop talking about your constitutional right to bear arms. People are dead. 50 people are dead, and another 53 are fighting for their lives. Thousands of people are affected directly by one man’s actions. Hundreds of thousands indirectly.

I’ve heard the argument, “Well, that will never happen to me. I’d rather have my guns to keep myself and family safe.” Chances are it won’t happen to you, and I bloody-well hope that is true. But what if you are in the thousands? Hundreds of thousands affected? What would you think about that pistol then? Would it give you strength to presume you could defend yourself against a madman? Would it give you pause to think it could be turned against you or prompt an attack by a madman that does not have your best interests at heart? Is a pistol the right answer or should you invest in some military grade assault weapon? When will it stop?

Rights can be regulated; no right is absolute. It used to be a right to enslave. It wasn’t that long ago that women didn’t have the right to vote. Damn, same-sex couples have only had the right to marry for over a year. Times change. The needs of the people we share the world with change. The only right that should never change is the right to feel safe.

To be clear, your right to own a gun is not my issue. Go ahead and have your guns. In Canada, there is an onerous process including courses, mailing away for a license, paying fees and even more courses and fees if you want a restricted weapon like a pistol. You can go to jail for years if you get caught carrying a concealed weapon or a weapon without a license. So, yes, we have guns. We have firing ranges. We have hunters. We use our guns responsibly. But we have never seen an Orlando.

I hope to see gun control in the USA in my lifetime, but I am not optimistic. If the 86 school shootings since Sandy Hook resulting in 63 deaths did nothing, then fifty gay adults shot in a club have no chance of stimulating change. I wish it wasn’t true, but we know it is and it frightens me.

Still. I care. I pray. I hope.


  1. margaret wheeler : June 13, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I am very proud of you. xo Mom

  2. I’m not very hopeful, either. The NRA and the massive gun lobbies have Congress by the short hairs. And now, with ISIS and domestic self-radicalization, there’s a perfect shit storm of violence and terror. I just can’t understand why it’s legal for any civilian to own an assault rifle.

  3. Guns is one huge part of the issue. And we hear that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns. Yes, and no… when a gun is sold for $40-$100 thousand dollars on the black market, in cash, it will certainly stop a lot of nuts owning a gun.

    Another side of this issue, is religion. This man is honored by his god and religion for what he did. Hate and death of LGBT is preached from the pulpits of Christian churches here in this country. Our government is concerned about which bathroom they are allowed to use, while they are faced with bullying and murder as their reality. Religion, and the hate it festers, is one of the biggest issues here.

    I have five children, and two of them fit into the LGBT group. Believe me, they just want to be a human like everyone else, with the same human rights, and without fear.

    • I agree that the LGBT community is under attack. There is a lot of work to be done, worldwide, to make it a safer place for the LGBT community to live. 100% Agree! With some of the highest rates of suicide among its members, I hope it changes soon. Love is love. You don’t get to choose who you are, but how you are is always a choice. Intolerance is unacceptable, but from religious and political pulpits, it is especially damaging. I am sad that people anywhere, from any community, do not feel safe to be themselves.

  4. Thank you for this. Guns are a large part of the problem.
    But I also want to highlight the fact that the shooter deliberately chose to target a gay nightclub. LGBT people have a hard enough time, as Shawneea noted above. Clubs and bars were supposed to be a place of safety, a place where they could be out in all senses of the word.
    We have too many politicians here who, in the past, have supported legislation limiting the rights of LGBT people, politicians who in public speeches demonized LGBT people who now offer their sympathy–but remain, deliberately, it seems, vague about who the victims were.
    Florida’s governor Rick Scott who’s expressed his sympathy in multiple statements but refuses to say where the shooting happened or who the victims were.
    When they say it could have been any of us that’s correct but that shouldn’t be an excuse to overlook who the victims were.
    Christopher recently posted…Summer Blockbuster Quiz.My Profile

    • I agree. The victims go beyond the 50+ dead in that club. The LGBT community is often victimized and this is another example of how little support they have from politicians. It saddens me to watch the Kim Davis’ of the world get a forum for her views when there are children and adults struggling to just be themselves in an intolerant world.

  5. In my state, they run adds on radio, television and have billboards that let people know if they sell a gun to or buy a gun for someone who is not able to buy one legally, they will go to jail for ten years. Of course, this is the same state that seems to have to problem with letting someone have eleventy-twelve drunk driving convictions – sometimes where deaths have occurred – and don’t bother to put them in jail until something really horrific happens. So, I’m not really holding my breath about the gun thing.
    Jana recently posted…Don’t Worry, Be HappyMy Profile

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