Orlando, Guns And Political Extremism
Politics and Activism

Orlando, Guns And Political Extremism

Choosing politics over progress leaves Americans as vulnerable to the next mass shooting as the last.

Nelson Runkle

For many people, the shooting in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando last week generated the responses that have become all too normal for our ever-increasing number of mass shootings: horror, anger and wondering which politician is going to use the tragedy to further an agenda.

There were a variety of factors that led to the attack, but rather than focus on issues such as the prevalence of homophobia in America, I had a feeling politicians were going to repeat their responses to attacks like the one in San Bernardino and focus on two topics: Muslims and guns.

Thankfully, the media seem to finally be letting the first one die down. According to people who knew the shooter Omar Mateen, including his own father, he was not a religious man and likely used ISIS as an excuse to justify his own hateful behavior. He did, by multiple accounts, have a history of homophobia and of violent tendencies in the home, but politicians prefer to focus on any Muslim connections. “Islamic extremism” is not as much a threat as what seems to be the latest flavor of “political extremism.” That is, pushing political agendas is once again taking priority over the voices and safety of average Americans.

Nowhere is that more visible today than in the second topic: guns. Trevor Noah stated as much in his response to the Orlando shooting; the response to mass shootings in America is fundamentally the same almost every time. Some of the debates from the past week are virtually identical to ones I heard before I could even vote. Political extremism always results in nothing actually changing.

Noah pointed out when terrorists used airplanes to cause massive death and destruction on September 11, 2001, we, as a country, certainly went after other factors in the attacks, but one factor we did not rule out was the weapon the terrorists used. Within relatively little time, we worked to make it hard for a terrorist to commit that type of attack again and we did so without banning all citizens from using airplanes. There were, no doubt, many other factors at play in Orlando and other recent mass shootings, but again, that does not mean we should rule out the weapon of choice.

At this point, many responsible gun owners become concerned about “Obama coming for their guns.” And sure enough, within days of the Orlando shooting, a new round of petitions to ban all assault rifles sprang up. But the problem of extreme, all-or-nothing solution is not unique to the Left. Political extremism affects both sides, and the Left insisting unless we confiscate every gun, we will not be safe from any violence is just as counterproductive as the Right insisting unless we can thwart every terrorist, we should not enact any new gun control legislation.

We need to overcome political extremism. Just the other day, four gun control bills were voted on in the senate and none passed. Every amendment seems to get shot down because Republicans refuse to accept all Democrats' requests, and Democrats refuse to compromise on pared-down versions of their proposals. Smaller steps toward reasonable gun control may not solve every problem, but continued inaction is guaranteed to not help anyone.

We need to overcome political extremism. Simple restrictions to prevent criminal activity are not foreign to us. We require someone to pass a test to be allowed to drive a car, we accepted certain restrictions to air travel and we even require ID to purchase cold medicine. Despite what political extremism would have some believe, applying reasonable rules to gun purchasing is not a position only held by the far Left. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, 84.3 percent of gun owners support background checks for all gun sales (often referred to as closing the “gun show loophole”) and 82.2 percent of gun owners support prohibiting people on the terror watch list from owning guns. None of those proposals require taking guns from responsible gun owners, and as President Obama stated yet again earlier this month, that has never been the Democrats' agenda.

<span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>

We need to overcome political extremism. There are absolutely other factors at play in mass shootings, but we cannot continue the political gridlock that results in nothing being done to limit attackers' access to the current weapon of choice.

If you have the time, then certainly write to your representatives in Congress, but also talk to your friends and family, and comment on petitions. Despite the Internet's reputation for starting flame wars, I have had a surprising number of great discussions and moderate viewpoints come out of people simply sharing and discussing their views.

We need to overcome political extremism or nothing is going to change.
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

For a long time, Goya has been a staple in some Latino households. People carry around jars of Adobo when they eat at friend's houses and packets of Sazón Goya can be found in almost everyone's pantry. Many BuzzFeed lists, videos, and memes aimed at Latinos reference Goya somewhere.

But in a year that just keeps hitting us with bad news, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Trump was an "incredible builder" and that the US was "blessed" to have him as president at a White House event on Thursday.

Keep Reading... Show less

Raven Baxter Was Our Favorite Teen Fashion Icon And We're Still Recreating Her Best Looks, Here

We take a look at Disney's most fashion-forward show to recreate some iconic looks.

Disney Plus

I grew up in the early 2000s. And, like any child at the time, I was hooked on Disney Channel shows. My favorite was and is "That's So Raven."

Raven is a teenage psychic navigating life in hopes of not revealing her powers. Only her family and close friends know she has them. Her powers oftentimes get her in trouble, which is where the comedy comes in. But, they also teach her and her friends sentimental life lessons.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sobriety is so underrated, even when it comes to healthcare. The instant gratification of a substance or drink isn't exactly as gratifying as some people may think. For those of you who've never been hungover, consider yourself lucky — a hangover is biologically horrifying. A hangover is not instant gratification, so who are we kidding when people say "it just feels good." Being healthy actually feels good and won't hurt you or your bank account in the morning. The best way to be healthy is to choose sobriety.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ah, yes. The juice cleanse. Yet another popular diet trend that promises to magically solve all of your health, nutrition, and weight issues.

When you take a close look, juice cleanses aren't as magical as they are made out to be, and in fact, they might do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less

Unauthorized Plastic Surgery Is Totally Unethical, And Happening WAY More Often Than We Know ‬

Plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancements has you looking more botched than beautiful and it’s painful to see.

Coming from someone who could afford numerous cosmetic enhancing procedures I would never in a million years cut up my face or my body. I'm pretty emphatic and when I watch these brainwashed victims with bandages and chronic inflammation (swollen lips) I literally feel their pain.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've never been big on casual wear or athleisure. Most people who know me have never seen me in sweats. But, I do have those two or three pairs of sweats I can't resist climbing into the second I get home, the newest addition of which is the extra cozy Odyssey crewneck sweatshirt I got in an XL size to feel as close to being wrapped in a blanket at all times as possible.

In the past several months, I've started to expand my horizons, considering the ways in which I can bring my small wardrobe of comfortable bedroom clothing into the public. I've experimented with topping leggings and a sports bra with a denim jacket to the park, and an oversized sweatshirt worn as a dress, cinched at the waist with a belt when I'm out wearing leggings.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Dress Like Your Favorite 'Insecure' Characters — Without Spending $2,000

We take a look at the fashion of Insecure season 4, and how you can create these looks yourself.


Insecure is one of my favorite shows ever. It really encapsulates what it's like being a Black 20-something, trying to navigate the many ups and downs of life. Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany are living their best lives in California while dealing with the twists and turns that come with that.

From life to relationships to careers, this show truly captures everything that runs through my mind on a daily basis. The show has a sense of realness and a strong frankness that makes you gravitate toward the characters and root for their success.

Keep Reading... Show less

Making A Food Instagram Was The Greatest Silver Lining To Come Out Of My COVID-19 Experience

With the crazy and scary times that 2020 has brought, find comfort in the one thing everyone loves: food.

The waiter briskly moves towards us and stops just a foot away table, balancing the black serving tray stacked high with the ceramic plates that make-up our dinner. From memorization, he beings gently, but purposely, sliding everyone's orders in front of them and within seconds I'm am starring my meal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments