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Orlando: Gun Violence Yet Again


Orlando mass shooting

As I write this, a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando has claimed somewhere in excess of 50 lives--possibly more. This follows on the heels of the murder of a pop singer in the same town just a day before.

As those of you who read EDM Digest faithfully understand, I personally don't have a lot of empathy or sympathy for those that carry weapons in public: (See: here, here and here)

At the same time, I and my colleagues have worked hard to be sure that when an event as profound as this one occurs, that we make sure that we ask the right questions and put the event in the proper perspective: (See: here, here and here)

So at this very early juncture, and DO understand that we will cover this event at great length in the days, to come, please keep these considerations in mind before drawing conclusions or forming action plans:

  • There is no valid rationale for this type of violence.
  • That being said, there is no rationale or excuse for categorizing any ethnic or religious group as being the cause of all the problems in society.
  • And that being said, the grievances of ethnic or religious groups are the most common causes of violence throughout history.
  • So the solution is a choice: We could:
    1. Kill, imprison, torture (Guantanamo), and use other power intimidation techniques to attempt to quell the insurrection.
    2. Listen to the grievances and engage in a constructive discussion to resolve the issues.

What lies ahead

History has shown us that option 1 tends to prolong conflict and never result in a resolution. However, option 2 has occasionally resulted in something that could be called "peace" and "resolution." But that is less than certain, and subject to much doubt and uncertainty.

In the coming days, we will have a battle between our instinctive natures to enact retribution and otherwise enact solution 1, and our more rational nature that would cause us to pursue solution 2. Solution 1 will probably win out--when we are confronted with this particular type of challenge, fire and brimstone are the only things that will appear acceptable to us.

But we can do better. And the one and only purpose in putting forward this perspective is to encourage us to do better. To embrace perspectives other than our own. To listen. To understand, without respecting, the violence that characterizes attacks against us. To understand that an ultimate cessation of violence against our way of life will be compassionate, worldly, and be representative of the better nature that is advocated to all of us through our chosen religious beliefs.

It's an uphill battle, and obscured at the moment by the fog of hatred that has assaulted us. But the ultimate success of our society, and the quality of life for our grandchildren, will depend on taking the right view.

Bless you, those who have suffered loss. Our deepest condolences.

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.