Guns & Gays: The Aftermath of Orlando

Trevor Watkin - The Thing About Allies After Orlando

There’s been a gazillion things written and said in the aftermath of last weekend’s deadly attack on a peaceful nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Here’s one more.

The dust hadn’t even settled on Sunday and we immediately started having all those national conversations we keep having to have. The ones about guns and religion and gay culture and useless politicians and nowhere is safe anymore and if only if only if only.

And it’s infuriating, but it’s important to have those conversations. As long as this shit keeps happening, that’s how long we’re going to have to talk about it all.

My favorite thing I’ve read so far is an acerbic response from my own best friend Trevor Watkin regarding gays and allies. It’s so spot on it makes my hair hurt.

The Thing About Allies After Orlando

It’s a fantastic piece, and I recommend reading all of it.

…allies go to battle alongside one other, and we recognize the other because the scars resemble our own. Thus, to call oneself an ally is to acknowledge the shared fight in which all of us stand to lose or gain.

This made me think: what are we even arguing about when we talk about change? Because, seriously, we are all going in circles again.

And if I am to call myself an ally, what can I do? Join the collective rage, mock the haters, and pat myself on the back?

Not good enough.

I see the anti-gun crowd bring up arguments against the pro-gun crowd, and I see the videos of clever comedians humorously pick apart every pro-gun argument.

But it’s the same old shit all over again. And now something has occurred to me, and it’s keeping me up at night.

This is not a problem of pro-gun people valuing guns more than gay lives.

This is not even a problem of pro-gun people valuing guns more than human lives. (It’s clear that some people really do.)

That’s not the problem. That’s just a symptom. It’s actually much worse than that.

The problem is that they do not value human lives.

Like, at all. That’s the problem right there.

People Are Strange When You’re a Stranger

These pro-gun people go on TV or they publish their blogs, and they make these ridiculous claims like owning guns is good for their fellow citizens. They say that the cost of freedom from which we all benefit so very much is that every now and then we have to sacrifice a few innocent ones at the hands of some really, really angry guy who doesn’t represent the values of the majority of gun-owning Americans.

But this is 2016. Literally every pro-gun argument can be disproven, and in fact made to look ridiculous simply by saying it out loud.

I can’t for the life of me believe that gun owners want other people they’ve never met to own guns, too. It’s pure selfishness. They want their own guns, and everyone else is on their own.

But these strangers across the country who get shot–these are our fellow Americans. How can you not see how frequently this happens and feel your face get red with embarrassment?

Come on, gun people, why not just admit that you don’t care about people you’ve never met?

Faces Come Out of the Rain

It’s an ugly notion. You might even think it untrue, because you love your family and friends and neighbors.

But you don’t love your fellow Americans.

Not the ones in a far away city, anyway. Never met ’em. Different values, different lifestyles? Don’t care about ’em.

Not like a gun. You can hold a gun in your hand and it makes you feel all powerful and stuff. That’s much more real than some faces and names you’ve never seen before, certainly more real than gay people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

That’s it.

I’m pretty sure that’s it.

I don’t have any data to back up this claim, but it’s the only foundational logic left on which a pro-gun brain can stand. It’s the endgame to the accusation that they value guns over human lives, because it’s actually true. And the accusation itself is not enough to cause a change.

This is the problem. There are people who simply do not value human lives.

Faces Look Ugly When You’re Alone

We have a country of false patriots, who claim to love their country but can’t be bothered to make a simple sacrifice like not having semi-automatic weapons at home even though American civilians are killed all the time by other American civilians with semi-automatic weapons.

And as sad and angry as I am at that one specific asshole who did the deed, I’m equally sad and angry at every dumb shit gun nut who masturbates to that small part of the 2nd-Amendment that they think says they’re allowed to own explosive weapons.

They do not care about the victims, no matter how much they say the right thing in front of the cameras.

And we can’t compel them. We cannot force people to care about people they’ve never met. That’s fine. Every one of us has a right not to care about people we’ve never met.

But isn’t it easier just to speak the truth? That you really, truly, do not value those human lives more than your guns?

Look, I’m still writing this and I’m already bored with my own article. I think instead of wasting my time pretending to make a difference by arguing with those pretending to be patriots claiming they love their fellow Americans, I will take a different route.

I don’t want to prove them wrong. That’s a moot point. I have a different mission.

I’m going to try to make them care about human lives.

If I am to call myself an ally, then that is the best thing I can do. Because it is, after all, a shared fight in which we all stand to lose or gain.

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