I totally said I’d pray for the Orlando victims even though I don’t believe in god. I said it because I was sad and it felt like the only thing I could do. But thank that same, possibly real probably not, god for Samantha Bee who is not afraid to let her anger to overtake her sadness.
The sad people aren’t the only ones who need to get a grip though. Because sadness and anger can both only go so far.
At some point it’s time to take action. And as nice and healing and respectful the world has been; showing its support through impassioned videos, (from LGBTQ people around the world, christians and muslims) huge group demonstrations, and news organizations agonizing over making sure we all know and remember the names of the dead, to veterans making their voices heard about who “needs” an assault rifle at their disposal, talking just isn’t enough any more.
There are too many kernels of truth that keep tripping everyone up. Little things that sound like they make sense that people get hung up on and it stops us from seeing the bigger picture.
What I mean by this is yes, some aspects/interpretations of Islam condemn homosexuality. But religion is the bigger picture. Religion is a mind-altering philosophy no matter which one you practice. It affects your behaviour and it’s something you most likely didn’t have a choice in because your parents or culture or community likely indoctrinated you from a young age, and as you age it’s a hard habit to kick. So blaming this and other tragedies solely on Islam will not get us anywhere. Debating whethe Religion is damaging to children might. But again, religion is part of the human experience. It’s inescapable and we need to learn to live with it. So don’t use your bible in hate, don’t use the Quron to justify violence and don’t use your copy of The God Delusion to belittle the believers. If you try to find common ground through peace, you’ll find it won’t be as blood soaked as if you try to force other people around you into conforming to your reality.
And when it comes to gun laws, there are a lot of people (especially in America) who see the restriction of legal gun ownership as a threat to their safety and freedom. While personally, as a snobby Canadian, I don’t see the appeal of having guns readily available to civilians, and I believe Australia and Japan have it completely right when it comes to their laws and the results they’ve produced, I can understand how people would be wary of losing their right to a deadly weapon that is already so widely distributed throughout their communities. Again with the kernels. We can’t take guns out of the hands of everyone who might potentially use them to do bad things. And trying to take away what’s already out there is going to be difficult so we have to pick our battles. NO BODY NEEDS AN ARMOUR-PIERCING-45-ROUNDS-A-MINUTE-FIRING ASSAULT FUCKING RIFLE. Keep your handguns for now, Americans. Because if one thing’s been proven, there are a lot of crazies out there with these freak-show guns that obviously intend to harm people and there aren’t many ways to defend against an armed assailant, so if you need it to make yourself feel safe, fine. I get it. But wouldn’t you also feel safer knowing it’s HARDER for these insane people to get a gun than it is for a law-abiding mentally stable person?
Finally, I think the third kernel that comes up a lot is mental health. And it’s a tough one. Mental illness is an invisible one that affects everyone differently and is hard to pin down. It’s also a scary thing for the person going through it to admit. Would you take a pill if it meant it would change the way you think and feel so you’d fit into society better? I think there needs to be a lot more done to fight the stigma of mental illness, so here I am out of the closet. I am a mentally ill person. If I owned a gun I would have blown my own brains out a long time ago. My illness has never prompted me to take out anyone else with me, but I’m living proof that your brain chemistry can fuck you up and it’s not your fault. There needs to be more walk-in clinic type places, more safe spaces for people to communicate what they’re going through to get the help that they need. And more than anything, the world just needs a little more understanding.
If you’re with me, do these things:
-challenge your own beliefs by reading and watching things that are out of your comfort zone
-talk to people of different backgrounds religions cultures and educational backgrounds
-take care of yourself so that you are better able to take care of others
-think critically about the events of the world before emotionally lashing out in one direction or another
-challenge others, but don’t antagonize. Be humble. Be true.
-don’t hide who you are
– get involved in making the world around you a better place