In the wake of the devastating terrorist attack at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, America has had much to grieve, think about, and debate. This was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and it has greatly intensified public debate on at least three different political hot buttons: gun legislation, terrorism and religion, plus LGBTQ issues.
In an Op-Ed I wrote for the Christian Science Monitor today, I too weigh in on this story. It is about how constructive conversation is still possible, even after this tragedy, and how we saw an example of it this week on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show
Snippets from the Left
“Considering Trump’s accusation in his official statement that Mateen’s father is Taliban and the implication that he believes in Sharia law, it’s fair to say this family would be in a very precarious position right now if Trump were in the White House. Presumably, whatever he did would be met with little resistance from Trump’s followers. But don’t ask them to allow the FBI to require a background check before someone like Mateen can buy a semi-automatic rifle capable of killing hundreds at a clip. That would be an abdication of fundamental American principles. …for half the country it makes more sense to ban 1.4 million people from entering the country on the basis of their religion. Would a ban on semi-automatic rifles end Islamic extremism? No. But it won’t make it worse, the way that religious bans and calls for torture and killing of suspects family members will. And it would sure make it a lot harder for any of these twisted souls, Muslim or otherwise,  to spray bullets at a room full of first graders or movie goers or gay guys dancing the night away. You can’t fix what’s in these people’s hearts. That is beyond anyone’s ken. But you can make it harder for them to act on their hate. Nobody needs an AR-15.”
Snippets from the Right
Forbes, Guest Writer
“A solution lies hidden in plain sight right in the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The militias now, by and large, are subsumed into the National Guard. The Guard is a very well-regulated militia indeed.
Without doing any violence to the letter or spirit of the Constitution, it is entirely possible to make gun ownership contingent upon membership in the Guard or other legally recognized state militia. If done in full good faith — with NRA officials given seats at the table — this will appeal to the right (which has high respect for our military and for service) and will be at least palatable to the fair-minded left.Consider the creation of an Auxiliary within the Guard, one with lighter duties — mainly training in responsible handling of weapons, regular but non-onerous drilling, and standard regulation of its membership. Not conceptually hard to do. By thereby heightening gun responsibility an even higher level of respect for gun rights, and a healthier gun culture, can be achieved.”
Snippets from the Center
“The mass killing in Orlando this weekend fits a grim pattern: Every lethal terrorist attack in the United States in the past decade and a half has been carried out by American citizens or legal permanent residents, operating either as lone wolves or in pairs, who have no formal connections or training from terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda or ISIS.
…The FBI has said that it is mounting 900 investigations of suspected Islamist militants in all 50 states. Complicating the difficulty of detecting a mass killer like Mateen is the fact that he worked for a global security firm and was a licensed security officer in Florida, which may have made him -- like Maj. Nidal Hasan -- less suspicious to law enforcement.The attack in Orlando reminds us that despite all these FBI investigations, sometimes American terrorists will still succeed in carrying out an attack.”