We live in a world where we have measured freedom, often times we don’t realize just how limited it is. We can look back 60 years and see the strides we have made, how disease brought our community to the brink, and won the right to marry, should we choose to do so. We have generations, now, that have never known that struggle and probably never will. For those of us who have witnessed any of the events, we have become their stewards. It is our duty to temper the future with the lessons of the past to ensure many of them are not repeated. Never has it been more so evident that the ignorant fill tweet from an Ohio Representative, Candice Keller.
This past weekend, the country stood in witness of two mass shootings, one in El Paso, Texas and the other one much closer to home in Dayton, Ohio. The shooting in El Paso quickly became the deadliest this year with 22 killed and 24 wounded and has been deemed a race related. The Dayton shooting claimed 9 deaths and 27 injured. There has been no apparent motive for the events in Dayton. Speculations have arisen as to the mental state of the shooter, but it is still under investigation. To give a little more perspective, Dayton made the 255th mass shooting this year, a number that is higher than the current amount of days that have passed since the beginning of this year. In those shootings, there have been more than 100 people shot.
Shown above is a tweet (now removed) from Candice Keller (R – Middletown) Ohio State Representative. Her tweet reads like a list of ingredients off a ketchup bottle, showing the most at blame first before devolving into anyone she disagrees with. “The breakdown of the traditional American family (thank you, transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates)…” Even before gay marriage was approved and considered, there were mass shootings. Columbine happened April 20, 1999, that was sixteen years before LGBTQ people got the right to marry. Maybe that somehow had a tie in to drag queens? She goes further to state that the acceptance of recreational marijuana is also to blame, since recreational usage has been around far more than the last four years, I’m sure it has little to do with it. After all, how many people have you seen, stoned, that were able to handle a fully automatic rifle?
Hearing that the lack of respect of law enforcement is partly to blame for mass shootings is also ridiculous. Being that she was born into white privilege, she fails to see how the police have treated every minority throughout history. People of color and LGBTQ people have suffered at the hands of law enforcement for simply being who they are. We have watched as police have disregarded us and our claims of violence. Often times they look at us like we deserved the treatment we have received, beatings taken, and threats of death, simply because we are who we are. Going further to claim anti-semitism is a reason for them is as just as preposterous. In fact, this administration has shown to be more anti-Semitic than that the whole of the country.
When you speak/tweet as a representative of the current government, you can see why there is a lack of respect. Our own president cannot have a conversation above a fourth-grade level, calling insult after insult to people. Then to see the same level of deplorable behavior for appointed representatives at our level only shows how unintelligent our country is and appears to the world en masse. Even worse to the level of intelligence, after the shootings in Dayton this past weekend where our own president was quoted saying, “May God bless the memories of those that perished in Toledo.” Golfing is much more important than the running of a country and acknowledging the travesties that it witnessed this past weekend.
We still are a part of a country that has little respect for us, as people. Many still view us as second-class citizens or side show attractions. For proof of that in a smaller setting, watch how most heterosexual people act when the visit a gay bar. Our safe spaces are reducing mainly due to the false belief that we are more widely accepted. Keller’s statement this week show us just how accepted the vast majority see us. It is time we hold those in power accountable for words and deeds. If you speak, openly, with such vitriol for the people who put you into office, you should be ready to face the consequences of being forcibly removed by them, as well. After all, it was Abraham Lincoln that said we are a “government for the people, by the people, and for the people.” Remember this, we as citizens can, in fact, shape and change the government and its policies. We have done it in the past with groups like ACT UP and any number of civil rights groups, we can and need to do it again.