By Marcia Moxam Comrie
On June 12 the world woke up to the news that a gunman had entered a nightclub in Orlando, Florida and used a weapon of mass destruction to kill 20 people.
That number was quickly upped to 50 and later reduced by one to 49. The 50th was the actual gunman whom police shot and killed in the ensuing stand-off. It was the worst mass shooting in our history.
The night club, Pulse, was known as a gay hot spot friendly to all comers; so there was a mix of both gay and straight patrons, men and women and an ethnic rainbow.
The shooter, whose name I will not dignify with a mention, was born in our own borough of Queens to Afghan parents. He declared allegiance to ISIS as he sat in the midst of the carnage he had created with a Sig Saur MCX firearm. We have now all seen the model on TV since that happened. It looks like a war machine.
He should never have been able to purchase that weapon. He had spiked the suspicion of the FBI on more than one occasion and yet he was able to purchase a weapon no civilian should be carrying. It was with this weapon of mass destruction that evil incarnate slithered into the club to carry out this atrocity in the wee hours of June 12, 2016.
We are numb with disbelief that this has happened again. And yet, gun manufacturers, distributors, advocates, lobbyists and the Republican-led Congress still refuse to concede that it is sheer madness that just about anyone can buy a gun – any type of gun with minimal to no background check.
We live in a place and time where money takes precedence over common sense, morals, empathy and human life.
The murder of some 20 first-graders – babies really – at Sandy Hook Elementary did not get congress to enact sensible gun laws. It didn’t even move them to action when their colleague, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords became a victim of gun violence.
The Orlando shooter shot more than 100 people and we still can’t come to an agreement that yes, guns do indeed kill. Without access to that weapon, the racist, ISIS-loving, homophobic, lunatic could not have killed and injured all those helpless people.
However, this latest atrocity was the straw that broke U.S. Senator Charles Murphy’s (D-Connecticut) back. He decided to hold a filibuster in the Senate to ban people on the government’s terrorist watch list from acquiring a gun license and that universal background checks should be done on anyone trying to purchase a gun.
After more than 14 hours along with supportive colleagues such as Senator Corey Booker (D-New Jersey), Murphy got what he wanted. The Senate will hold a vote on gun legislation.
In short, the common sense senator had to hold his colleagues hostage in order to get a hearing on how to help protect their collective constituents. How outrageous is that!
These people should be ashamed of themselves. We ought to stop paying them until they put our safety above their campaign coffers.
This column was originally published in the Southeast Queens PRESS on June 16, and is republished here (with slight modifications) with the permission of the author, a Jamaican living in the United States.