News & Politics

We Need to Stop Avoiding the Problem of Hate

People hold up candles against a rainbow lit backdrop during a vigil for those killed in a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub downtown Monday, June 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. A gunman has killed dozens of people in a massacre at a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In the wake of the Orlando terror attack, people have taken to social media to debate whether firearms should be banned, or at least whether “assault weapons” should be. On my Facebook feed, someone offered this as justification for gun control:

With an assault-gun-ban rifle, he’d have killed half as many people.

I responded:

Or he just would’ve gotten the firearm illegally. Or used a bomb. Or used multiple assault-gun-ban rifles. Hate is hate, and we need to make sure that we don’t move this debate away from the real need for an answer to homophobia, radical extremism, and violent bigotry. If we don’t make an appeal that love wins, we don’t eliminate the problem at all.

Indeed, several mass shooting events have occurred with illegal firearms. Several mass attacks have occurred with bombs — this shooter reportedly was modeling his behavior after the Boston bombers. This shooter had multiple firearms with him. If he hadn’t had this weapon, he just would have used multiple other firearms or other types of weapons. I am not trying to defend gun rights in this article, because I honestly don’t feel it’s the time for that. But to make this debate over what kind of weapon a hateful person uses is to ignore the real problem of the hate itself.

We need to do a better job of understanding terror threats — the FBI interviewed this jihadist three times. We need to promote a message of love and support. We need to not duck this issue.

It’s an easy “solution” to ban firearms, but it can’t make the positive change we’re looking for. We’ve been “demanding” legal action and regulation, rather than teaching tolerance and love. We make ourselves feel better, but never solve the problem.

I attended the vigil last night in Los Angeles; we came to mourn the lost souls of Orlando, and to provide hope for the future. Said Lady Gaga: “Let’s all today pledge an allegiance of love.” That is the only real solution I have, to preach tolerance and love, to open our hearts, and to reach out to our neighbors. Love is the only way to win against hate; government regulations would just mask the problem.

As Glenn Beck tweeted:

ISIS should know, if you try to kill our LBGT brothers and sisters, you will need to come through us all. We are one. We will be a shelter and fierce defender of the rights of all mankind. We will always put our differences aside when push comes to shove. When someone tries to silence, cause fear or kill — we will unite and stand against you. Today the colors of the rainbow blend into one bright white light. LGBT we stand with you!