The country we live in today is divided by wealth, race, religion, party, and political ideology. Few countries are as big and as diverse as the U.S., yet we live in a nation that is also full of hate and harmful rhetoric, where corporations, special interest groups, religious institutions, and political sects create an us vs. them attitude in order to maximize their profits and influence.
Although America does not necessarily own hate and division (those things have many shareholders around the world), we do own way too many guns. Combine hate and guns with mentally disturbed individuals and you get mass shootings.
There is a lot of speculation as to why Omar Mateen decided to kill 49 people at a popular LGBT nightclub in Orlando Florida. Was it ISIS inspired? Was it homophobia? Was he anti-Latino? Was he gay and in the closet, believing it when told by family or religious leaders that he should hate himself for who he was? We may never know.
I'd like to pose another question: Does it really matter? Even if he left a detailed diary with his motivation, would it make a difference?
Today's political rhetoric that pits one group against the other, coupled with easy access to guns, means that another Newton, San Bernardino, Charleston, or Pulse is around the corner.
Are we simply waiting for the next one because we accept that our nation's leaders will fail to take meaningful action?
Our obsession with guns in the U.S. has gone hand in hand with violent hatred for a long time. Unless we address hatred and guns, simply pray that you're not in the path of the next disturbed individual who just purchased a gun.
President Obama captured the feelings of many of us when he said, in reaction to the Orlando massacre, "our thoughts and prayers are not enough." But so far, thoughts and prayers are all we've gotten from most of our political leaders.
At times like this, we should remember the famous words of Muhammad Ali when he said, "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it."
We have the power to change it. Will we?