Vol. 11    No. 12
JUNE 9, 2016
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                               Orlando
I can’t help but write about the tragic, horrific slaughter of human beings by a lone assassin armed with a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle and a
Glock 17 handgun in Orlando yesterday. Forty-nine innocent people, mainly of Puerto Rican descent, partying at The Pulse nightclub on Latin
Night were gunned down by an American of Afghan descent.

While theories have abounded for the motive for the attack, we aren’t certain. The police have said that the shooter had called a 911 center from
a bathroom where he was holed up with some hostages to pledge his allegiance to ISIS, which could or could not be true. It seems to me that
he would not have waited to do this near the end of his standoff. I would think that he would have left a manifesto in his vehicle.

It is reported that The Pulse is a gay bar and so maybe this was a hate crime directed at gays during Gay Pride Month. Or maybe it was directed
against Puerto Ricans because many of those present at the club were Puerto Ricans. Or maybe the shooter just had a beef with someone who
was in attendance at the club and decided to take as many people out as he could before taking that person’s life and his own. Or maybe, since
he wasn’t able to become a police officer, he decided to go down in history as the most prolific gunman in U.S. history. Who knows what the
motive was.

But what I do know is that the shooter, only a week before, went into a gun dealership and purchased the Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle. This is
what one reviewer said of this killing machine.

“The MCX has a light recoil impulse, and it was easy to make quick follow-up shots. I was most impressed at how controllable the MCX was
when firing on full-auto. It’s certainly not a spray-and-pray weapon. Instead, it feels like you can simply guide the rounds exactly where you want
them to hit.”

This killing machine is capable of shooting dozens of bullets a minute. It is a killing machine designed to kill human beings, not deer, elephants
or bear. It is designed to kill people.

And maybe it’s because I just don’t tune into the right — or is it right-wing — news channels, but I can’t recall ever reading a story about a
homeowner defending his home from an intruder by spraying him or her with a few hundred rounds from his Sig Sauer or any other comparable
assault weapon. He wouldn’t dream about tearing up his home with one of these rapid-fire beasts, but having it available for someone with
dreams of infamy by killing 50-100 people, well that’s just collateral damage.

Since when does the Second Amendment say that a person’s right to own a military-style automatic assault rifle, which they can purchase just
as easily as they can over-the-counter medication, that is capable of killing me and everyone I know in seconds takes precedence over me
being able to enjoy my life and perhaps want to go to a club and do a little dancing? Half of the stuff that the National Rifle Association dreams
up in defense of their money-making operation that uses President Obama as a boogeyman to sell more guns and reap more profits, is tripe and
the invention of a fertile imagination that utilizes fear-mongering as a way to control feeble-minded people. It is not grounded in the rights of
states to have a well-regulated militia or the right to bear arms. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t specify that everyone is entitled to own a cannon,
a weapon of war. I’m sure that our Founding Fathers realized that would lead to the destruction of society.

How many people are going to have to die before we come to our senses? When will common-sense reform happen? Is it going to take the
death of a Congressman or a Senator in the same way that South Carolina left the Confederate symbols on its state flag in defiance of national
opinion until a state senator was gunned down in his own church by a white racist who enjoyed brandishing the Confederate flag? That
measure swept through the South Carolina legislature and governor’s office when they finally realized what was happening due to their
insistence on keeping this century-old symbol of hate and violence aloft.

What is it going to take?

I know there are people in this country who keep the purchase of assault weapons open to anyone who can slap down some money who have
a special place in hell waiting for them. They can come up with all the rationalizations in the world why anyone should be able to purchase
these killing machines. They may actually convince themselves that their justifications are true. But when it comes to the Judgment Day and the
Good Lord looks them in the eye, down to their very soul, they will realize that they did it for the profits or to hold onto political power. And as
that moment of realization occurs, down they shall go to eternal torment.

We need reasonable gun control now. Even saving one life by banning the purchase of these killing machines would make the fight to ban them
worth it.

My heart goes out to the survivors of the Orlando massacre and the family and loved ones of those who perished. My heart goes out also to the
city of Orlando for this “Magic Kingdom” will never be the same.