Some of my harshest critics have long assumed I am no friend to the LGBT community. Reading is hard, I suppose. It is easier to make assumptions based on a headline ("Gay marriage is not about love") than to spend fifteen or twenty minutes reading what I have written. One of the great advantages of the modern internet is the ability to block obnoxious people so completely that it is as if they do not even exist. One of the disadvantages is that this power also makes it easy to immerse oneself in a single point of view.
Yesterday, a radical Islamic terrorist shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida (Fox News: 50 killed in Florida nightclub shooting). This brutal attack on a crowd of people out for a night on the town is not acceptable. There is no excuse for walking into a crowded entertainment venue and killing people simply because their religious, political, or lifestyle choices are different from your own. It cannot be tolerated.
The Supreme Court of the United States of America recently decided in a 5-4 decision that "gay marriage" is legally protected by the same laws and conventions that protect traditional marriage (Wikipedia: Obegefell vs. Hodges). While I do not agree with this decision, I have also stated many times before in this blog (Brian's Meandering Mind: Homosexuality, Christianity, and Me) that every individual has the God-given right to live their life in accordance with their own choices provided those choices do not interfere with the same freedom held by others. No nation or community has the right to determine a blanket moral code for everyone in that community and then impose strict punishments for non-compliance. ISIS patrols do not have the right to throw homosexuals off of rooftops and terrorists do not have the right to kill an LGBT crowd out enjoying a night on the town. No one has the right to assault them, to harass them, or to shoot them. They are entitled to the same freedoms and benefits as anyone who is not a member of the LGBT community, and vice versa. Rather than incorporate "gay marriage" into traditional marriage through an off-the-cuff redefining of a single word, I would have preferred to remove government from marriage entirely. What is the point of a marriage license anyway? If two people are a lifelong couple, then they are a lifelong couple. Why do we need a piece of paper issued by a government authority to prove it?
I have never once suggested or advocated that violence against the LGBT community is somehow acceptable. Not in this case. Not in any case. Anyone who advocates for violence directed against the LGBT community just because their lifestyle does not conform to the Bible (or the Qur'an, or any other religious text) will find me defending the rights of the LGBT community to their own lifestyle. This shooting in Orlando does not belong in the political realm of LGBT rights. This act of barbarism is an attack on American freedoms and the American way of life. This is a bloody military assault by an enemy combatant who has infiltrated our society, taken advantage of our freedoms, and slaughtered innocent non-combatants in the name of a political ideology disguised as a religion. Even worse, we now know that another attack was planned for an LGBT parade in Los Angeles (Fox News: Man set to attend Gay Pride Parade arrested with stockpile of weapons)!
Right now I am worried that these two incidents are neither isolated nor coincidental. As I have pointed out before (Brian's Meandering Mind: A Deadly, Persistent Swarm of Gnats Revisited), these kind of attacks are going to increase in both frequency and severity. This is the preferred strategy among the current crop of the world's terrorists. This is a very good strategy for a widely dispersed fighting force with limited resources and limited access to weapons. A handful of grenades (or homemade pipe bombs) and a few hundred rounds of ammunition can do incredible damage in a very short amount of time when they are used against a tightly packed, unarmed crowd. The key to countering this style of warfare is to insure everyone in every crowd has the freedom to carry a firearm. The more trained firearm owners there are present in a crowded public venue, the less likelihood there is that a swarm-style attack can gain the kind of momentum it needs to inflict massive casualties. More police is not the answer. Better equipped police is not the answer. Having military personnel guarding public places is not the answer. The only viable, time-tested, and consistently proven strategy to counter swarm dynamics is an armed and trained populace.
Even though an armed society is a polite society, people will still die. There will still be idiots killing each other over disloyal lovers, gambling debts, unfair prices at the gas pump, and aggressive driving. All the things the anti-gun crowd fears are valid concerns. However, we as a society have a choice to make: we can prosecute our own idiots every time they kill someone in a violent outburst or we can collapse under the weight of terrorists and armed gangsters who slaughter us in movie theaters, nightclubs, shopping malls, churches, schools, government offices, and other "gun-free" zones.
Personally, I would prefer prosecuting the idiots to empowering the terrorists. Life can never be perfectly free of violence, but the violence can be minimized.