- 13 Jun 16
While there is something frighteningly familiar about the mass shooting that claimed 50 lives at Pulse nightclub, there are also signs of an even more disturbing trend within US society. Hot Press writer – and Florida native – Mackenzie Kees explains.
No one person can be entirely to blame for the tragedy that occurred at the Orlando nightclub Pulse on early Sunday morning, save the shooter, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, and his radical political beliefs. However, the horrible state we now find ourselves in as Americans is one I have feared greatly, ever since Donald Trump first started playing the role of politician.
Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again,” has done nothing of the sort. Instead, he has been tearing our country apart, piece by piece, spreading violence and hatred. Mateen’s actions may have nothing per se, to do with Donald Trump and his political campaign, but we cannot keep pretending that words do not have any power. On the contrary, words are the most powerful weapon we have in modern society, and Trump’s inflammatory use of them has already led – and will continue to lead – to more violence. Unless we stand up to this type of dangerous rhetoric, we cannot hope to stop the violence that has recently wracked America.
Strictly speaking, Omar Mateen’s actions can only be explained through the veil of religion, specifically the radical Islam he apparently espoused. No one in his or her right mind, you can argue, would ever assume that murder is the answer to any question we may have as human beings. But that doesn't change the stark reality that the only possible way to even begin to understand the senseless Pulse massacre is by reading the Qur’an.
Religion has undoubtedly brought both good and evil into the realm of humankind. It can be used to justify horrible acts of cruelty, but it can also inspire others to help one another. So how can one unified book (i.e. the Qur’an, Bible, etc.) lead to such radically opposite ideals?
It all comes down to people and how they individually decide to interpret a specific religious text. As a Humanist, I do not have to rely on any antiquated books for guidance on morality. For those more religious than me, I can only suggest to concentrate on what you know to be right and leave out all of the rest.
Each and every one of us deserves the same respect, regardless of his or her political affiliation, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. Let this vicious attack on Pulse be a turning point in America – the point where we all stand up together and say that enough is enough. We have allowed people like Donald Trump to control the dialogue for far too long. Do not allow Trump to turn this horrific event into another one of his hateful campaign ploys.
Trump will continue to feed the proverbial flames by claiming that he was right all along about closing our borders to those in need, but Mateen did not cross the border. He was born in the United States.
I am deeply disgusted by Trump’s remarks on this terrible massacre of American citizens. In a time when we most need peace and unity, he has managed to create an even bigger rift between us all. Do not let him. We, the people, have the power – and it is time we stop handing it over to him. Without our support, he is just a sad little reality star, playing the role of his lifetime.
Even though I am currently here in Dublin with Hot Press, my heart is back home with all of the victims and their families. I am thinking about each and every one of you with such a profound sadness that I cannot even attempt to put it into words. Just know that I love you all; you did not deserve to be shot down as if you didn’t matter, because you do matter.
In the words of my mother, listen to your heart and think for yourself, because your heart will not lead you astray. The best part of humanity is our ability to decide for ourselves how we want our world to be.
So, let us decide that this is not what we want our world to look like – only then can we start working towards a better future together.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi