United We Stand, Divided We Fall: My Thoughts on the Orlando Massacre

I have spent a considerable amount of time gathering my thoughts in regards to the tragedy that occurred in Orlando. Due to various reactions on social media, I have been torn between speaking my mind and staying out of the matter altogether. However, I feel compelled to speak the truth, even if it leads to undeserved levels of alienation and ridicule.

In the wake of the massacre, there have been a ridiculous amount of divisive accusations being thrown around, especially on social media websites. Instead of standing together in times of tragedy, we prefer to resort to finger-pointing and name-calling. We are so desperate for something to blame, that we rely on our pre-conceived notions to make sense of such situations. This is nothing to be proud of and, in no way, does it solve any of the problems that face our society. So here is the truth.

The truth is, innocent individuals were brutally murdered for no particular reason. To our knowledge, they were targeted based on their sexual orientation. Despite what some may believe, ALL individuals possess an inherent right to life. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, black, white, man, woman, Muslim, or Christian. Regardless of classifications, ALL life is precious, and there is absolutely no justification for murder. Period. My heart truly aches for the innocent lives who were unjustly taken away from this world, as well as, the families that never got to say goodbye to their loved ones.

The truth is, the shooter was a self-radicalized Islamist who was bent on wreaking terror upon our way of life.In the midst of carrying out his massacre, he pledged allegiance to ISIS via a 911 phone call. He had been questioned in the past about possible associations with Islamic terrorists. To deny this, is to deny reason and logic entirely. Whether he formally belonged to ISIS or not, his intent was to kill in the name of a radical force. Unless we recognize this, we will continue to blame one another for the actions of deranged and radicalized individuals.

The truth is, Muslims are not to blame for this incident. It is harmful to generalize, and I refuse to engage in that sort of rhetoric. It is important to realize that there is a difference between a “Muslim” and an “Islamist”, just as there is a difference between “Islam” and “Islamism”. The actions of the shooter are in no way representative of an entire religion, and we cannot continue in our misunderstanding of this. It is important to realize that radical Islamism is a threat to the American way of life, and I would encourage you to do your homework on this issue. However, we cannot fall victim to the propaganda that attempts to classify the entire Muslim community based on the actions of its radical factions.

The truth is, Christians are not to blame for this tragedy. Those who are adamantly against Christianity have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit and defame the Christian faith. Despite the ignorant claims of bigotry, the Christian faith is NOT responsible for what occurred in Orlando. Those who are attempting to shift the blame to Christians are doing nothing but distorting the truth and, furthermore, proving that they know absolutely nothing about the teachings of Christ. Yes, many Christians are opposed to homosexuality for religious reasons. Yes, many Christians want to be free to oppose lifestyles that they disagree with. However, Christianity DOES NOT advocate for the murder of innocent people. Those who do, are not Christians. Period. Don’t pretend that advocating for freedom of conscience is equivalent to brutally murdering innocent lives. If you think it’s intolerant, that’s fine, but stop using this tragedy to justify your own contempt with Christianity.

The truth is, guns are not to blame for this tragedy. You want to have a real discussion about common sense gun control measures? Fine. I’m all for creating a balance between maintaining public safety, and ensuring that individuals have the ability to defend themselves. I could spend all day debating hypothetical situations, but there will be no real progress unless we acknowledge that focusing on guns does nothing but shift the blame. As I wrote in a previous article for Voices of Liberty, gun control will be ineffective as long we continue has disdain for personal responsibility. So yes, let’s have a reasonable discussion about measures that ensure that the public is safe. I agree. But understand that anyone who immediately attempts to shift the blame to guns is failing to acknowledge that there is a deeper problem that plagues American society.

The truth is, our society has developed a complete disdain for personal responsible. No one forced the shooter to carry out the attack. Guns do not function without human action. The shooter made a conscious decision to take the lives of innocent people, and he alone is responsible for his actions. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, shifting the blame does nothing but enable a society that acts without any consideration for potential consequences. Before we start playing the blame game, maybe we could start with analyzing our own hearts and identifying the role that we play in this world.

Finally, the truth is, We are not enemies of one another. Our only enemies are those who will stop at nothing to exterminate the American way of life. We must acknowledge that evil exists in this world. We have allowed ourselves to become so center-focused that we allow ourselves to use tragedies to justify and advance our personal agendas. Until we reflect and look within our ourselves, tragedies like this will continue to occur. It’s time to stand up, accept that we will have our differences, but come together in defense against a common enemy.

So say whatever you’d like. Blame whoever you want to blame. Just realize it does nothing but isolate and divide. It’s natural to disagree on controversial political issues. There is nothing wrong with that. But I’d like to think that we can do it with respect for one another. I’d also like to think that we are bigger than blaming this massacre on one another. We are all American citizens, so let’s start acting like it. I will continue to pray for Orlando, the LGBT community, and all of those affected by this tragedy. United we stand, divided we fall.


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