June was not only pride month, but it’s also a gun violence awareness month. According to Gun Violence Archive, there has been 28,723 incidents, 7,163 deaths, 13,582 injuries thus far in 2018. And there has been 155 mass shootings in 2018 so far, which Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida was the largest after 17 lives were lost on Valentine’s day.
And how can we forget about shooting at Pulse in Orlando in June 2016, which I wrote about in my blog. Read here: https://gaysiandating.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/1133/
Even worse tragic shooting happened on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas when a gunman fired on the audience at a concert using automatic rifles, which resulted 58 deaths and 851 injured. Gunman also died from self-inflicted gun shot wound and his motive is still unknown.
Around the time of Las Vegas tragedy, I met Simon on Tinder. He’s in his late 30’s, white guy who just moved in town as he travels for work in the US military. There is something so sexy about men in uniform and I definitely found him sexy.
Simon and had several dinner dates and had a great time, mostly sharing stories about traveling the world. As a civilian, I have zero knowledge about military world and I felt like our worlds were miles apart.
They say 3 topics you avoid on first date is money, religion, and politics. But I always find it amusing to have a healthy conversations about these in a way that comes from a genuine curiosity. Perhaps, it’s my comfortable communication style being in a mental health profession, which you talk about everything that is uncomfortable to talk about. Well, Simon and I talked about guns. I was curious about his point of view on gun control. He does firmly agree with constitutional rights of owning a gun but he does question why would any civilian need to have access to automatic rifles. I commented that I am scared of guns and he commented he is scared of crazy people. It’s clear that we are both against gun violence, but have very different angle of solution to this social problem.
In 3 days, America will proudly celebrate the nation and freedom we embrace. US Constitution outline the rights as citizens but I worry that we’re taking it too far. Freedom should be a privilege but not to abuse it. I feel so lucky that we have the freedom to have independent opinion and luxury to have access to knowledge beyond what the system teaches us. I also feel lucky to be part of diversity that makes us better country if we were to have a stronger bond. Instead of focusing on making people to change in order to adapt to my own values, freedom calls for better understanding about those who come from different walks of life.
While I fear guns, I think what I am more fearful is losing humanity. Instead of abusing right to bear arms, perhaps we all could use big hugs from gay bear arms. Also, read more about the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Gays Against Guns.