The challenge of America in Orlando with guns and mass shootings
By Roger Caldwell
With 300 million guns and no ban on assault rifles, “radical insanity” is a reality in America. There is a pervasive pathological mental health problem in families, youth, men and women across the country, and everyone is saying “not me”. We all want to believe that it cannot happen in our home or neighborhood, but it is happening every day.
We all are living by a thread, and the ability to control violence and mental health starts with the control of our thinking, drinking alcohol, and use of drugs. There is someone in every family who cannot control their drinking and use of drugs, and there is a need for psychological intervention.
Instead of getting mental health assistance and help, the family members bury their heads in the sand, and say, “You know Uncle Joe is crazy.”
The gunman, Omar Mateen, was a 29-year-old security guard who worked for one of the largest global security firms in the world, which employs more than 610,000 people in 110 countries. Mateen was a devout Muslim who pledged his allegiance to ISIS during the massacre. The shooter’s history includes spousal abuse and FBI interrogations, but the cases were inconclusive and subsequently closed.
It would appear that there were mental health issues and red flags when the FBI did their investigations on Mateen. But who can really identify when a person’s mental state has crossed over into insanity? It is very easy to plan for crisis management and security, but when it happens no one is really ready.
Why does it take a tragic mass shooting for a city and country to treat each other with respect and dignity? The Pulse nightclub was a gay club, and the majority of residents in Orlando never knew it existed, and would never be caught inside its walls. But, “radical insanity” forced all Americans to understand that we all are one.
The mass media has framed the Orlando massacre as the worst contemporary mass shooting in U.S. history with 50 dead and 53 injured.
The community is in mourning and it should be, but 100 years ago there were two race massacres, where white men shot and burned down sections of the cities where Blacks lived.
In the spring of 1917, Blacks escaped the terror of the South by relocating to St. Louis at the rate of 2,000 per week. White corporate business leaders took advantage of cheap Black labor, and white working class men were losing their jobs. On May 28th, 3,000 white men marched into St. Louis and attacked Black men and women, and burned down the Black section of the town.
There was also the 1921 Tulsa, Okla. massacre, where whites attacked one of the wealthiest African American communities in America at that time, called the “Black Wall Street.” Over 16 hours, whites burned private property, burned a Black hospital, injured 800 people, and 50 to 300 Black people were murdered.
Today, it is very easy to forget that violent massacres are a problem every weekend in Black communities in many major cities in America. In Chicago on Memorial Day weekend, there were 69 shootings and six people died. Last weekend in Chicago, there were 42 shootings, and seven people died. Black on Black violence is at catastrophic levels now, and nothing seems to be changing or getting better.
Why is no one talking about the massacres in the Black community?
As Orlando begins to heal, everyone must find what works best for them, but at the center must be love, support and resilience. America has a crisis with guns, violence, shootings and mental illness. There is no one answer to the problem of guns, but violence with guns is out of control. It does not matter your race, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation, because peace and love is the only way.