Sunday, June 12, 2016. Woke up early today (well before 6). Was good to wake up in my own bed. Jen was up too. I checked my phone, sent a few e-mails/texts and looked at my typical order of websites (ESPN, CNN, Debtwire, The Deal and a few others entered the mix because I had time). Jen and I briefly discussed the Stanford rape case and recent sentencing. We didn’t discuss the worst mass shooting in U.S. history; the story was just breaking (the death toll was not reported until after 10 am EST this morning). And I thought the headline on CNN.com was related to the shooting death of Christina Grimmie. Christina was a 22-year old singer (who appeared on “The Voice”) with a bright future. She was shot on Friday night by a 27-old year man that it seems she did not know after performing in Orlando. [It has been widely reported that Christina’s killer had two handguns, two loaded magazines and a large hunting knife.]
I stayed in bed and rested for a while. Jen even went to the end of the driveway and grabbed my NY Post (which I read first) and the NY Times. I have not yet finished reading the Vows yet. But I did read (and think a lot about) the article “Your Faith, My Faith: Finding Common Ground. ” As I read this article before 8 am this morning, including the comment from Mr. Diamond’s mother, I was thinking to myself that life is hard enough as it is; to be unable, because of religion, to be happy and otherwise share your life with someone you love seems shortsighted. [As someone who is in a great marriage to a person of the same faith, this is very easy for me to say. I simply do not have the personal experience that others have had (and can speak to) and I am not writing any of this to suggest that people with different views are wrong. My view is that people should just be happy. And different things make different people happy. But everyone should be lucky enough to find love and be happy. Race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation should not stand in the way. (Reminded me about a wedding announcement I read last weekend between Cecily Koppuzha and Lionel Sotomayor.)]
After helping load Jake’s new iPod for camp (which made me think about a lot of the songs I listened to at camp as a kid), in a text chain with my roommates from college one of the guy’s suggested he was going to have a busy week — he works at CNN — because of what happened in Orlando (the text said “#wtf is wrong with ppl.”). I just assumed he was referring to Christina Grimmie’s shooting. Then I turned on the television. And I haven’t turned it off. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred earlier this morning at a nightclub in Orlando called The Pulse. The killer was a 29-year old male U.S. citizen who called 911 during the attack and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. [While the killer’s name (like Christina’s Grimmie’s killer) has been blasted on television and the internet, I have no interest in identifying this sick individual by name. By the way, ISIS just claimed responsibility for this attack.]
I listened to President Obama today. I just did some research and read that this is the 15th time that President Obama has addressed the nation following a mass shooting during his nearly eight years in the White House. I too express my heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims (many of whom are not even identified at this point), as well gratitude to the law enforcement officers who saved dozens of lives in responding to this disgusting act of terror. In addition to an act of terror, this was an act of hate. An act of hate against people who have decided to be happy in their own skin. Everyone should be happy. Race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation should not stand in the way. And as I watch news coverage, including of the LA Pride parade that is going forward (a man — allegedly on his way to the parade — with explosives and guns was arrested earlier today in Santa Monica), I am proud to be a citizen of the great United States of America. This was an attack on our nation and the freedom that we (and people before us) fight so hard to protect (and develop).
There is no room for terrorism. The U.S. Department of State is fighting the fight against terrorism. Would be great if we could eliminate terrorism. But that sure seems aspirational and is going to take a long long time. So what do we do in between? The common theme in all 15 of the mass shootings that President Obama has addressed are weapons. It is being reported that the sicko in Orlando bought assault rifles this past week (no report yet as to where). I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods a few weeks ago getting gym equipment. At one point I found myself passing through the “weapons” section. Do we really need do sell 100 plus different guns (with ammunition) at a sporting goods store? Assault weapons can be used at movie theaters, elementary schools and nightclubs. Should we really be selling assault weapons to enable people that are either sick or have so much hate that they are prepared to die for their beliefs? These are questions only. I am well aware of the second amendment and every citizen’s right to bear Arms. I just wonder how we balance this. As citizens of the U.S., in a country where race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation should not matter, we all need to be accountable here. Thinking about Michael Jackson’s song again……
I finished Jim Boeheim’s book yesterday (entitled Bleeding Orange, which was written with Jack McCallum). Other than the excellent Syracuse basketball history, there were a few real takeaways (including Boeheim’s view on setting rules and forgiveness). But today, all I was thinking about were Boeheim’s comments to the media after he won his 900th game on December 17, 2013. It was three days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. This is what he said:
“If we cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society. If one person in this world-the NRA president, anybody-can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots . . . This is our fault if we don’t go out there and do something about this. If we can’t get this thing done, I don’t know what kind of country we have.”