no_more_hate (2)This morning on the radio, they were asking for people to tweet whether the problem related to Orlando was whether there were too many guns, or not enough oversight on the mentally ill. How very, VERY, wrong a question.

The tragedy at Pulse has so many root causes, and so much blame to go around. I am struck by all the lives affected: the dead, the injured, their families, friends and co-workers, plus everyone who is LGBTQI. And I have questions. Many questions.

First, I have LGBTQI friends. I don’t think of them as L or G or B or T or Q or I — they are my friends. The people I share a meal with, dance with, go shopping with….just plain friends. I used to have a lot more gay male friends, sadly lost to what was then called GRID, before it was AIDS. I’ve watched the struggles over the years: the hiding before Stonewall, the discrimination, the beatings for having been born. The evangelicals say that we are all created in G-d’s image: how do they integrate their supposed love of G-d with their obvious hatred of those created in her image? Rumor has it that the shooter was “incensed” by seeing two men kissing. I don’t get it.

Then, what possible reason could someone have for owning an AR-15 if it is not for military reasons? It’s not a hunting gun, my friends who hunt don’t seem to need to spray 20 rounds in 10 seconds to fell a deer. A fully automatic weapon is for killing a lot of people at once. Why did we let the 1994 ban expire?

Is someone who mass kills crazy? What is “crazy”? I know something about the mentally ill. As a physician, I’ saw them in practice, although I’m not now and never have been a psychiatrist. But mental illness is pretty pervasive and so “regular” patients who saw me for primary hypertension, or something equally common, may well also have had mental illness. Perhaps depression, manic-depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, whatever. Easy to diagnose, hard to treat. Most of them were far more dangerous to themselves then to anyone else. But when I was in practice, I never saw a violent mentally ill person. HOWEVER, I did see people who were not clinically mentally ill who did violent things. There is no DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for “mean and violent.” But these folks are out there.

My last questions relate to how on earth can any thinking feeling person support Donald Trump? He said once again that all Muslims should be banned from entering the US, even though the shooter was native-born. What’s his next play? Saying that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to have children? How do people not see that Trump ginning up violence for the last year emboldens those “mean and violent” folks to find outlets to terrorize America?

I try hard to get my head around the idea that hate is okay.

I cannot.

The people at Pulse were just out dancing, getting an adult beverage, chatting, enjoying life and bang. We need to stand up, each and every one of us and say that this is not okay. Assault rifles and automatic weapons are not okay. A problem with mental illness? Track that back to Ronnie Raygun closing all the mental hospitals back in the early 80’s. To this day, there aren’t enough beds. Here’s an example. Mentally ill AND mean AND violent. Don’t care why — these are people who need to be treated, kept off the street if they are a threat and certainly denied access to guns. But I don’t think that’s the answer – the hate seems to be creeping into society, even amoungst people who would never be violent. That hatred keeps them from acting rationally to solve the underlying problems that cause people to shoot other people, whether individually or in a mass shooting. (Check the links for numbers. If you don’t already know them, you’ll be shocked.)

To the Republican members of Congress who refuse to stand up to the NRA – it’s pretty obvious you love the money you’re getting more then you care about innocent victims. Perhaps you think that because someone is LGBTQI, they’re not “innocent” — blinded by your hatred to non-heterosexuals. You’re wrong. People going about their lives are just plain PEOPLE. They deserve what all Americans were promised in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Too many people have forgotten “all”.




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