13445359_10153880600878547_1697480610352181283_nBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City paper 7/2016

Brace yourselves, this one isn’t summer fluff, I’ll be funnier next time. Also, as much as I have been working on this one, it’s still a little all over the place, so apologies in advance that this piece is not as tight as usual and more “stream of consciousness.”

After the Pulse Nightclub Orlando massacre, there were many images of folks lined around the block giving blood in Orlando. Once again, after a tragedy, people lined the streets to help. People always do that. They give blood. They run INTO the smoke and fire. They take action to help. God bless them.

I am a Christian and I love God and I love my faith, and I also love people. And I try my very best not to judge. Straight, LGBT — it doesn’t matter to me. Not at all. LOVE IS LOVE. Your sexual orientation just doesn’t matter to me at all. You’re in love? It’s all good.

You’re in love with someone of your own gender? Are you both consenting adults? Yes? Cool. Your relationship doesn’t threaten me, or my marriage, or anything about my way of life. Why would it? Who people love, what consenting adults do, that’s their business, not mine, not the government, or anyone else.

The people at Pulse were having fun, dancing to music, and were MURDERED because of who they loved. They were human beings at a club and they were MURDERED.

Then, Istanbul airport — terror attack: 41 killed, 239 injured in bomb/gun attack.

Murdered. For. NO. Reason…

Just like Sandy Hook.

And San Bernardino.

And Aurora.

And Virginia Tech.

And countless, countless others. God, I’ve lost count. Seems like every week, doesn’t it?

Orlando. A nightclub. A sanctuary.

At Sandy Hook little children at school – a sanctuary.

In many churches, across the globe, people murdered in their sanctuary because of their beliefs.

Movie Theater? Night club? Church? Big game? Big crowd? Boston marathon? Airport? Doesn’t matter where — It seems there is no safe place. There is no sanctuary.

I’m just tired of the weekly shootings, the weekly killings, and the senseless violence. I’m just so very tired of the weekly candlelight vigils and the tweets of thoughts and prayers from politicians and the gun discussions that go NOWEHERE.

I am sick of politicians tweeting thoughts and prayers. Dear Congress: WE DON’T WANT YOUT THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS, WE WANT ACTION. And your one day sit-in was meaningless. I have NO confidence you will do anything when you get back from vacation.

It would be so easy to blame it all on the terrorists from other lands killing in the name of their God, but what about the Americans who are clearly mentally ill who kill for no reason, like at the Aurora Theater?

We’re part of the problem. It’s not JUST Isis, it’s not JUST terrorist from foreign lands. It’s US. In the US, our society so sick. We don’t take care of the mentally ill – or we could do it so much better. We sell assault weapons to anyone. We adore graphic violence in our TV, movie and video games.

And there is so much racism, homophobia, and dislike of cultures different than “ours.”

We can’t blame JUST terrorists. We’ve had plenty of “home-grown” all –American terrorists right here.

But I HAVE to believe it will get better. I HAVE to believe that love will beat HATE. That the murders will stop. I HAVE TO BELIEVE IT because otherwise there is no hope.

I must believe MOST people are inherently good, or at the very least want to do the right thing. And yes, there will always be terrible people doing horrendous evil things. But MOST of us are trying to do the right thing.

In the meantime, I’m grateful that people line the streets to give blood, that people still run INTO the smoke and fire and so anything they can to help.

And by the way, to be VERY clear: I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE 2ND AMENDMENT REPEALED. I’m fine with people owing guns. You want a gun? You have that right. Now acquire it LEGALLY and learn how to use it, respect its power, and for the love of God lock it away when you’re not using it. And embrace the restrictions that try to keep AK-47s out of the hands of lunatics and terrorists. We clear on that?

Hell, I get ID’d for Nyquil at CVS and I am OK with it. Because kids abuse it. I get ID’d when I buy Sudafed once a year for my bronchitis because people use it to make meth. I get ID’d at home depot when I buy spray paint because kids inhale it to get high. I am still able to buy these needed things, and I consider none of these requests for ID unreasonable because it helps keep the product from being abused.

No one is stopping me from buying Sudafed, but if I want 500 boxes, something else is going on. And if you don’t see the parallel I just made between Sudafed and guns, I’m not going to explain it to you.

I just don’t think assault weapons are needed for home defense or hunting. If you do, you need to do some SERIOUS introspection. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Can we juNoMoreHurtingPeoplest have a good discussion about how much firepower is too much and unrealistic and maybe wait 72 hours before we give someone on the terrorist watch list a bazooka?

Sorry to be a downer during the summer but if are truly ever to be SAFE, we need to DO something more than thoughts and prayers. We need to stop the hatred, the homophobia, the racism, the killing in the name of God, the INSANITY, and the murdering people for no reason. And we DO need to have a civil discussion about guns and come to a realistic COMPROMISE.

Love one another. It’s not easy. It’s NEVER going to be easy. Stop the hate, stop the madness — that will be even harder.

So, there you are, an op/ed that’s all over the place, sorry for that, but I’m tired. So very, very tired of the killing, the hand-wringing, and the weekly candlelight vigils for people who should still be alive. Of the hurting for no reason.

I’ll end with this:

“No more hurting people.” — Martin Richard.

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