Today marks exactly one year that Omar Mateen stormed Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, brutally murdering 49 people and injuring some 58 more. Mateen pledged loyalty to ISIS in the wake of the crime but no actual ties between ISIS and Mateen ever materialized. There had also been rumors in the days after the slaughter that Mateen had actually been a patron of gay establishments and web sites but FBI officials stated, that after a thorough investigation, they found no evidence to substantiate this claim.
Mateen’s coworkers stated that he talked a lot about “killing people” and that he openly used racial slurs to describe African Americans, Jews and Latinos. And it was clear to these same coworkers that he was “no fan” of the LGBTQ community.
It is most unfortunate that we live in a society that incubates, tolerates and even encourages such hate. This country was founded on “christian principles” and some have taken that to mean that it’s ok to despise, marginalize and degrade so-called “sinners.” Some right wing, over zealous nut jobs such as Brian Tashman even had the temerity to state that what happened at Pulse was “God’s Judgement.”
Let’s be clear: No one deserves to be gunned down like so much waste just because of whom they decide to join their private parts with or, more importantly, because of whom they decide to love. As lin-manuel Miranda stated at the 2016 Tony Awards, “Love, is love, is love, is love …” And we must also recognize that hate, is hate, is hate, is hate … And, for like any community who has been marginalized or ostracized in this country, I applaud the LGBTQ community’s efforts at refusing to give in to fear and pressing forward since the day of the Pulse Nightclub Tragedy until this day, one year later where all over the nation people are gathering to remember and rally on behalf of the fallen that day. We must continue to call out hate and social injustice no matter where we find it and be relentless in doing so, even be utterly aggressive and obnoxious in doing so. Why? Because hate is costing lives and it deserves no escape, no reprieve and no quarter. 49 beautiful people lost their lives on that dark day 1 year ago. Their families are still hurting as they were someones brother, sister, father, mother, uncle, aunt … Hate is killing people. So Be it through legislation or in the streets, we should support one another in the eternal endeavor for equality and justice for all. If we can’t see the simple yet powerful reasoning in that, then what the hell are we doing, America?
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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