As I write this, we have experienced the biggest mass killing of innocent victims by a single shooter US history. Of course, by the time we go to press, the record could be broken. At this minute the count stands at 58 dead, more than 500 injured. There was one lone shooter who fired from the safety of his 32nd floor hotel room into a crowd of people attending a country and western music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The shooter’s brother claims the man was wealthy, liked to gamble at $100/hand poker tables and could afford to do so. He was a 64-year-old white man whose girlfriend was out of the country in the Philippines. No motive has yet been established.
The mass shooting has not been called terrorism, not even domestic terrorism, because the shooter has no known affiliation with any terrorist group. More will be learned.
People can be terrorized and killed without our calling the act terrorism because gun violence is normalized in this country.
Nevada does not require gun licenses. Nevada does not limit the number of guns anyone can own. Open Carry, Concealed Weapon, Machine Guns are all legal in Nevada.
What few restrictions this country imposes on people wishing to buy guns would not have stopped this man.
Calling shooters “crazy,” or “mentally disturbed,” or “troubled,” does nothing but make people who suffer from mental illness feel bad.
We need actual gun control in this country. Other countries have woken up, come to their senses, and outlawed guns. Their lives went on, but the gun violence was curtailed. (See Australia, the UK, Canada.) But as one of my FB friends posted today, when the next mass shooting happened after Sandy Hook, she knew nothing would change. Gun violence has been normalized.
In point of fact, the Las Vegas mass shooting (four or more deaths) was the 273rd so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Violence Against Transgender Teen
Ally Steinfeld, 17, was murdered by three people she knew. Three people have been charged with first-degree murder in the brutal slaying of a transgender teenager in Houston, Mo., and a fourth has been arrested on other charges.
Steinfeld, 17, was found dead in September in a rural area near a mobile home occupied by one of the suspects, according to Associated Press. Both local and national media identified Steinfeld by a male name, but The TM Planet, a website focusing on transgender issues, identified her as Ally. She had been stabbed repeatedly, including in the genitals, and her eyes had been gouged out, according to the AP. Her body was burned in an attempt to conceal evidence of the crime.
The local officials declined to call the killing a hate crime, saying all murder is a hate crime. Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Commission have both expressed outrage at this lack of prosecution of a hate crime. HRC’s legal director Sarah Warbelow wrote an open letter to Missouri State Attorney General, calling on him to oversee the murder investigation.
Realities of Being Gay and Muslim in Today’s World
Cracked.com writes: “In Islam, homosexuality is all about location, location, location. In some places, being a gay Muslim is like winning the anti-lottery, where the main prize is base-jumping lessons without a parachute or a trip to an actual concentration camp. Things are miles better in the U.S., where Muslims are much more accepting of homosexuality than, say, Evangelical Christians. And then there are all the places in between. We sat down with Khaled and Omar to find out what it’s like to be gay in Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries like Jordan and Pakistan.” The full article is here.
A federal judge threw out a case against Black Lives Matter saying they cannot be sued. An anonymous officer filed suit against the movement, alleging that BLM is responsible for his injury.
According to The Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson wrote: “Although many entities have utilized the phrase ‘Black lives matter’ in their titles or business designations, ‘Black Lives Matter’ itself is not an entity of any sort.”
The suit also named DeRay Mckesson as a defendant, though he is not a leader of Black Lives Matter. Three Black women founded the movement: Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza. Mckesson is an activist, and he supports Black Lives Matter, as do many people, including me. We cannot be sued for being on the right side of history. #blacklivesmatter.
Support Transgender people
Give what you can to people suffering from the effects of the hurricanes and earthquakes. Here is an article that lists many reliable places to give your money and/or time.
Write your Members of Congress and ask them to do whatever it takes to end gun violence.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.