The biggest massacre in U.S. history wasn’t about gays.

I woke up today thinking about the 50.

The 50 who, just two days ago, had lives cut short on a night unexpected. The 50 who never came home, never responded to that last text, never got to say that one last thing. The 50 who have families and friends and loved ones who are waking up today with a hole carved into their lives–one that will always be there.

50 souls.

And as I watch the country grieve I see rainbows on profile photos and gay slogans and anti-religion propaganda because the biggest massacre in our country’s history was at a gay night club, The Pulse. I understand the sentiment. I understand the rainbows. But the thing we need to understand a little bit better is that it has nothing to do with gay or straight, religious or non-religious, male or female, white or non-white.

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It has everything to do with hate.

We distract ourselves–and the media distracts us as well–with the reasons behind why triggers are pulled or knives or wielded or bombs go off. “It must be because they were black”, we say. “It must be because he was transgender”. “It was a gay nightclub, that’s why”. “Maybe it’s because he was Muslim”.

And while many of those reasons are valid and might even be a surface reason to why atrocities happen, we owe it to ourselves to look up and see things for what they really are.

Hate is real. It lives and it breathes and it seeks to harm and to destroy and to cast blame. Hate is what finds a reason to kill. Hate is what can be bred into our children from a young age and what festers and grows over weeks or months or years. Hate is pride. Hate is a learned trait.

But yet, so is love.

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Those 50 don’t deserve a gay pride flag. They weren’t just “gays gunned down” at a club. They were children of God. They were precious souls with jobs, loved ones, parents, futures and children and memories to make. They were human lives who had to stare down a barrel of a gun aimed at them simply because the one who pulled the trigger was taught hate instead of love somewhere along the line. They were the repercussion of someone’s inability to see the worth of all souls is great.

And America, THAT is our real problem.

We can preach about gun control. We can enact more gay and transgender rights. We can protest in the streets and sign bills or petitions. We can yell and fight and get angry at each other. We can categorize ourselves by “liberal” or “conservative” and draw our lines in the sand.

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Or we can recognize the poison just beneath the roots, the poison that is creeping into minds and hearts and seizing control of our young people. We can work together, free of affiliations, to make it stop. But how do we stop it?

That’s the big question.

I don’t think we’ll ever be able to take a mass issue and solve it over night. There will still be massacres. There will still be children who die and hate crimes and suicides caused from bullying. But we can start where we’re at. We can foster and nurture love into our children and into those we have influence over.

We can recognize people for who they are–children of a perfect God–instead of who or what they associate with while on earth. We can make friends with the lonely and redirect the lost. We can write or sing or use our other passions to touch the hearts of those who need it. We can BE love.

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Even decades after Martin Luther King Jr., we still have black teens gunned down in senseless acts of violence and people burning crosses in front lawns. But yet we also have children of different races playing in the streets, a black president, bi-racial couples, and black CEOs and entrepreneurs. We have made leaps and bounds and it started with a simple voice. It started with love.

It seems like the most cliche topic ever spoken about and perhaps that’s the reason our society steers away from it now. Instead of going out in search after the one who’s gone astray we build fences to keep it from coming back in. We build walls to keep ourselves safe and stand in fear at the feet of congress asking them to do whatever it takes to protect us from the “bad people”. We perpetuate the real problem by not actively striving to be the real solution. We cower in fear.

Ghandi once powerfully said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world–that is the myth of the atomic age–as in being able to remake ourselves.”

These things will happen–we will lose 50 people at a nightclub or a young singer will be shot outside her concert venue; we will see schools gunned down or families massacred in their homes. These things will happen but we CANNOT become calloused. We cannot explain away reasons or get up in arms with the means to which the act was carried out. We need to recognize it for what it is, and try a little harder to be a little better in a world that is without fail crumbling every day around us.

“Take heart,” the Savior said, “For I have overcome the world.”

We must not forget that. We must overcome.

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I love the lost 50. Gay or straight, black or white, male or female, old or young. They are brothers and sisters who were victims of a plague that attacks the heart–and nothing else.

There is nothing more to fight about. Nothing more to wave flags about or protest. Nothing matters except for the fact that we are warriors in a battle that consists of fighting evil every day by being one more piece of light that can overcome it. Yes, you may be on a very small scale. So am I. You’re literally one out of billions.

But it’s just the pull of one moon that creates a thousand waves.

Never let someone tell you that a couple people with love and grace and compassion in their hearts can’t completely change this world.

Because through the course of history, that’s all who ever have.

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154 thoughts on “The biggest massacre in U.S. history wasn’t about gays.

  1. Loved the article, however you might want to change your analogy at the very end. The moon causes the tides and wind causes the waves. My source is the ocean portal of the smithsonian institution website.

    I’m not seeking to bash, just to help you make the article better.

  2. Love this post!
    I said the same thing to my friend when I heard about it.
    It’s about the hate!

    We need more LOVE in the world. To be preached, to be taught in schools, to be taught in our homes.
    All we need is more love ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Wow, this is terrible.

    Shall we say the extermination order was just about hate? Shall we say Mormons were only driven west because of hate? Shall we say Haun’s Mill massacre was just about hate? We should stop saying our Pioneer ancestors were persecuted for their beliefs. Let’s stop making it about the group of people targeted. Because it has nothing to do with the religious or non-religious, right?

    Except that you’re probably only comfortable with that kind of erasure when it happens to an “other.”

    • Thank you, Leah Marie. I was linked to this blog by a friend who couldn’t believe it was written seriously.

      To the blogger: What a horrific, self-righteous, blind attempt to make the very real lives lost in Orlando become invisible. How dare you try to erase these people and then try to call it “love”?

      You, your post, your “let’s make the gay part not matter” stance, your attempts to wrap the denial and “don’t talk about this” in the rhetoric of fath…all of that is part of the problem. You are part of the problem.

      Yes, I’m angry. You can’t find a way to resolve the bigotry of your religion when trying to express some version of sympathy. So your only solution is to erase the “gay”. Posts like yours just add to the pain. I’ve seen this sugary-sweet version of prejudice wrapped in “love” expressed in countless ways by “religious” people who are a very, very long way from genuinely accepting, much less loving, GLBT people.

      Ending hate starts with learning to truly see one another in an authentic way, and then beginning to honestly communicate across differences rather than trying to sidestep them with generalizations and denial cloaked in spiritual language.

      Your bias is showing. And it doesn’t look like “love” or “grace”.

      • Caitlin:
        I sympathize with your position and argument here. Let me say however that is really does go both ways. There is a Mormon named Josh Weed who has blogged about his experience as an active faithful Mormon and a man with same sex attraction. He married his best friend, a girl he knew from high school. They have their own family and he is active in the church. See http://www.joshweed.com. He has been roundly criticized by the gay community and certainly not accepted by them. How does the LGBT community feel about someone like Josh Weed? Do they genuinely accept him and love him? He’s made choices. He is a man with same sex attraction that has a testimony of the truthfulness of the Mormon church and has chosen to live a traditional marriage lifestyle. When religious people talk about the commandments but it should be understood that it is not done out of hate. I see Josh Weed and I think that there is a path to a greater level of happiness. That is the ultimate desire. So when religious people teach, preach, argue and hope that people will live the commandments and follow the Savior, it is not done out of hate or bias. It can be done because they see examples like Josh Weed and simply are urging people to choose that pathway in life. Here’s the ideal as I see it. We recognize that people are going to make their choices in life. Some choices will lead to greater happiness and peace then others. People that support traditional marriage or religious values should not be labeled as haters or having bias against the LGBT community. (Nore should they actually hate the members of that community – which is obviously wrong). Similarly, the LGBT community should recognize that there are some people who are going to be making choices that make them happier even if they have same sex attraction. Some people will join with those of religious faith and have their own families and live that life. That should be respected equally and those people should be not vilified by the LGBT community as traitors. This is called freedom – people should not be vilified or shut out from our culture for their honestly held beliefs on either side of this issue.

      • And your pride is showing, along with your hate. The author is right; we are all children of a loving Father. We bicker and quarrel and hit one another, take each other’s toys and say “I hate you.” But true grownups know that children don’t see the whole picture, and that their differences pale in comparison to their similarities. The labels we use–gay, straight, black, white, rich, poor–are not as important as our common humanity. We should be treating everyone with the same love and consideration, without regard to any labels. A wise teacher once told me, “If you move even one millimeter away from a homeless woman who sits down next to you on the bus, you are failing to show the love that is expected from you.” Grace is a gift from God; it’s the ability to give to another without expecting anything in return, simply because of love.

      • I’m with Caitlin. Remember, a few months ago, leaders of this church said there is “no such thing as gay members of the church.” (Thanks Elder Bednar) This article is another assault on the identity of these victims who were targeted solely because of the identity the church says doesn’t exist.

        This blog is nothing more than a re-labeling of the shooting to make it more palatable to LDS Church members who are uncomfortable mourning for LGBT individuals.

    • No, it’s still right. The people who murdered and drove the Mormons west were still acting out of hate rather than love. She’s just focusing on the bigger picture, not removing anyone’s problems.

      • Parks, did you read or hear the whole talk by Elder Bednar? He said to not let our sexual orientation define who we are. We don’t call ourselves gay member or heterosexual member. The same way I wouldn’t go around calling myself an Argentine member because I happen to be from Argentina, or someone calling himself blind member because he is blind. We are brothers and sisters, all members of this church. And we also happen to have different sexual orientation, different nationalities, different abilities or disabilities and so forth.

  4. Slavery wasn’t about race, just opportunity. If someone shoots up the conference center in April or October, it’s not about the LDS community, just under the umbrella of hate. Joseph Smith wasn’t murdered because of who he was, but just because of circumstance. Totally legit arguments.

    • Well said! Hate is only the TIP of the iceberg. This hate was directed at a very specific group of individuals. That’s where your article misses the mark and settles for the simplistic answer…

  5. I get what the author is trying to say but I respectfully disagree. I’m just going to paste the reply I gave in response to a friend who shared this blog post on her facebook wall.

    “I feel because the gay community was targeted specifically during pride month and in a gay nightclub (a sanctuary of sorts for their community because historically speaking these were the places they could go and be themselves in a safe environment) we need to be sensitive and not take over the narrative to our own ends. It is a hate crime directed at the homosexual community and it is a domestic terrorist attack.

    Just like last year, when that bible group was attacked and many were killed, it was a hate crime. They were murdered because the color of their skin and no one was going around saying the shooting wasn’t about race.

    This time around I see a lot of status updates, blog entries, editorials and so forth going on about how *this shooting in particular* is about a hate problem and that it isn’t a gay tragedy it is a human tragedy and I agree—it is a hate problem and a human tragedy, but that is the case every single time one of these mass shootings happen so it feels weird that people are going out of their way to say as much after this specific shooting.

    We need to be mindful and not erase an important aspect of why this specific group—an already marginalized and persecuted community—was targeted.”

  6. Bravo! Thank you for speaking what so many of us are saying. You are exactly right on this issue. I will never support the rainbow flag because it supports advocacy for homosexuality and serious sin, and a lifestyle in opposition to God’s commandments. We as Christians can and will love and mourn the loss of children of God. We cannot be shamed into accepting homosexuality because of this tragedy no more than we expect the world to convert to Mormonism if this had happened on temple square.

    Don’t let the haters bring you down. Your post is being very well accepted online and people are all agreeing with your words.

    • Julie, I do not agree with these words. While I do believe this essay was an attempt to comfort and address some serious questions, it sidesteps the question that too many people don’t want to address–am I extending unconditional love to my brothers and sisters?

      It’s rather insulting when something like this happens to an already marginalized segment of our society people like this author come along and say “sorry, this isn’t about you.” Imagine how that make those of us who fit in that group feel when you try to erase a part of who we are to “make us feel better.”

      The truth is I have been beaten up for being gay. I have had trash thrown at me, I have had my house and car vandalized, and I have lost more than one friend to suicide because they could no longer deal with the rejection experienced because of who they are. None of this has happened because we are children of God.

      When you try to downplay anything like this by claiming that this did not happen because they were gay, you also discount every struggle we have faced throughout our lives. You become indifferent to a real problem that our society needs to address, and it’s not that God’s gay children need to change. You are indifferent to the fact that any time you have treated one of God’s children differently because they are gay, lesbian or transgender, you have subtly contributed to a problem that still need major repairs.

      Please, let’s stop being indifferent about people’s struggles and battles. Let’s practice true empathy and carry one another’s burdens. We can’t actually do that until we admit that other people’s burdens aren’t the same as ours.

      “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

      ― Elie Wiesel

  7. Kayla, the problem is not hate. Hate is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is fear. It’s not hard to hate someone and walk away. If we fear them, however, we see them as a threat and we feel compelled to take action to protect ourselves and the people we love. This often results in violence.

    Once we recognize that fear is the real issue, it’s clear that there is no broad brush solution. We can’t just change peoples hearts by saying “love one another”. We have to tell people to stop fearing one another.

    And that is an almost impossible request. How effective is it to tell someone to simply stop being afraid of heights or small spaces or poisonous snakes or rapists? It’s hardly effective at all, of course. In order to resolve fears we have to be aware of what specifically causes the fears, eliminate the causes or assuage fears so that they are no longer a threat and thus help the fearful persons feel safer. Otherwise, we can’t truly love something or someone that we see as a threat.

    Children have an abundance of love for others, not because they lack hate, but because they have not yet been taught to fear. The Orlando murderer hated gay people because he was taught by his Muslim culture that they are a harmful evil–so harmful that they should be killed. He may even have come to hate and fear his own sexual orientation for the same reason. In the Mormon world, we deal with the exact same thing, but because we “respect” life and laws we don’t kill each other very often. Instead, LGBT Mormons too often kill themselves when they realize that death is the only way to protect themselves from the inescapable evil that threatens the happiness of their loved ones and their own eternal salvation.

    That is why these 49 deaths really are about awareness, rainbow flags, Pride parades, and conversations about LGBT issues. The violence won’t go away just because we say “don’t fear” or “don’t hate”. If we have any bravery to spare, we need to use to openly address the fear-based, hate-generating rhetoric that has come from Mormon and Muslim leaders (among many others). Likewise, when it comes to other “hate” problems, such as hate towards other religions, racial backgrounds, genders, economic classes, etc. we need that same level of transparency, awareness, and attention that LGBT issues require.

  8. It seems like you have good intentions, but I couldn’t disagree more with your thought process. Yes, hate is the core problem but this was not a random attack on random children of God. This was an attack on a specific group of people who identify a certain way, and who were in a location centered on their identity. Members of the LGBTQ community experience violence and discrimination every day, and failing to acknowledge that this is a hate crime against this population minimizes their pain and marginalizes that aspect of the shooter’s crime

    • I read another article recently about an interview with the shooter’s wife where she says how he was looking into downtown Disney as a potential spot as well as this club. He seemed to be looking for a place where he would get a lot of victims…? I’m not sure why he picked the night club in the end. So maybe the the author is onto something. In his 911 calls, from what I’ve read (maybe you’ve heard something else), he didn’t seem to express anything related to the LGBT community. He may not have picked the club simply for the sake of values but rather more for the foot traffic… Of course that’s my guess.

      • At Disney they have Gay Days every year at the same time that the Pulse shooting occurred

        Don’t fools yourself. This was ab.sol.ute.ly an attack on the LGBT community

  9. While you are not wrong, this attack was about hate you are also completely missing the point.
    You are very clearly someone who hasn’t been hated purely for one small characteristic of yourself. That’s why the fact that it was a gay club is so excessively important. Because being gay is only a tiny part of who these people were. Being gay is only about who they loved. Being gay is what got them killed. Loving people (in the shooters eyes, the wrong people) is what got them killed. While hate is the root of why this occurred it is very important to look to the groups being prosecuted by this hate, support them, understand them, protect them. Thinking that hate is the most important part of this attack is the naive viewpoint of someone who has always been accepted for who they are. You are a privileged individual in that sense, which is not something to be ashamed of, but it is something to be aware of when you’re talking about issues you can’t possibly understand. I’m not saying you haven’t struggled in your life but you’ve clearly never fear for your life for loving someone. And that’s why this isn’t about hate. This attack was about love. This attack was about people like you thinking your was of loving, your perspective, matters more than these people’s love, these people’s lives. Don’t belittle these people by saying that their being gay didn’t matter because if they weren’t gay not only would they be alive but their time living would have been a hell of a lot less fearful.

  10. Beautifully written but I disagree.

    Also not the worst massacre to happen in the U.S. As terrible discusting and tragic as it was let’s not forget about massacres such as wounded knee.

  11. Contrary to what many don’t want to believe, this heinous crime was all about religion. A religion that has no tolerance or level of acceptance for LGBT people. A religion that teaches all homosexual males should be killed. By his own words, the shooter, who may have been gay, dedicated his action to the glory of the Islamic state. Until religion stops teaching hate, hate will continue.

  12. Now we’re reading and hearing on the news that the shooter was possibly bi-sexual. If true, what does that do to the theory that the crime was committed because of a hatred he had for the LGBTQ community? Why did he consider making Disney his target? I don’t know the answers. I’m just asking.

    • Homophobia and transphobia are so much a part of our society, that frequently LGBTQ people must work through internalized homophobia before they are able to accept themselves. It accounts for much of the depression that often accompanies the understanding that one is gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, etc. Indeed, society has made it so acceptable to be unaccepting of LGBTQ people, that LGBTQ people have a difficult time accepting it in themselves. You ask an important question, and if you really want to understand it, do some reading about LGBTQ development. In the meantime, we must acknowledge that this horrific loss had everything to do with being gay. To deny that is to simply add to the acceptance of homophobia and the erasure of an entire group of humans and the suffering they experience at the hands of folks who either loathe them or lovingly refuse to acknowledge their existence.

    • If he was indeed bisexual as some evidence seems to indicate, then he had a closeted self hatred as evidenced by his fury over seeing two gay men kiss, as reported by his father. Religion is really good at creating this denial, repression, and self-loathing, a rage that is either directed inward towards suicide, or directed outward as in this case.

  13. I really believe you think your heart is in the right place. I don’t think you understand how it is actually rooted in a need to devalue the humanity of the LBGTQ community.

  14. “Don’t deserve a gay pride flag”? Seriously? “Cowering in fear”? I saw thousands of LGBTQ citizens across the country go out Monday night in candlelight vigils to shower they WEREN’T cowering in fear. If your god was so perfect why would he let his children slaughter each other? “Massacres will happen.” Why so accepting? This post was giant contradiction. Also condescending to the LGBTQ community. But that doesn’t surprise me as the LDS church will do anything to marginalize an entire group of people who are different than them. Funny how much you talk about “love” when your church fights tooth and nail to keep people who love each other from having the same rights you do. Get a grip.

  15. THE LARGEST MASS SHOOTING IN US HISTORY HAPPENED December 29,1890. When 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents & members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection”. The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. The Calvary began shooting, and managed to wipe out the entire camp. 200 of the 297 victims were women and children.

    Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

    The Second Amendment, the right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and it refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defensive purposes, should such tyranny arise in the United States.

    Wounded Knee is the prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we should vehemently resist any attempts to infringe on our Rights to Bear Arms. Without the Second Amendment we will be totally stripped of any ability to defend ourselves and our families.

  16. I agree with what you are saying but have a disagreement over your heading. This was not the biggest massacre in US history. There have been many massacres over the years bigger than this but regardless the message to all is the same.

  17. Hatred of homosexuals, of anyone for that matter, begins with separation and judgement. This “monster” who shot over 100 feeling, bleeding, loving, and beloved human beings started this journey with a lesson. That lesson was based on a moral judgement of a group of people who are naturally attracted to their own gender and have chosen to love according to their own hearts. Like many of you, that moral judgement was based on a belief that God himself condemns them and their lifestyle. That was the seed of his hatred.

    Keep this in mind and remember that similar, religious-based, scripture-backed arguments have been made to justify genocides, witch hunts, slavery, and massacres of heretical belief throughout history. The author it quite correct that the problem of hate had been with us throughout time and that it is not about to die. All of us must recognize that hate begins with the thought that “we” are different and morally superior than “them” and that God fully supports that attitude.

  18. I want you to know that I hate this for all the wrong reasons. I hate this because as soon as I saw the temple picture I felt like closing the tab right there rather than be reminded of the prison this church was to me. I hate this because your religion that is supposed to preach love only ever taught me to hate. I also want you to know that there are infinite right reasons to hate this article starting with the absolute disrespect towards the pride flag saying that these 50 don’t deserve it as far as I’m concerned you can bury me in a pride flag. I understand that you trying to make this about generic hate because you can not understand something actually not being about you and your god for once in your life. When you look at this issue and talk about hate you should realize that hate is the surface. Identifying hate is not deep its shallow anyone can see the hate. To go deeper you have to look at the reason behind the hate which in this case one of the biggest reasons is homophobia. Then dishonor them with the whole children of god thing. Has it ever occurred to you that not only do some people not believe in god but even if she (yes she no way god would be a man) were real we would never bring myself so low as to be called her children. Save us all some time and stop trying to talk about something so out of your depth.

  19. I agree it’s about hate that needs to be replaced with love. But don’t delude yourself into thinking it had nothing to do with LGBT people. This psycho hated them. He chose that nightclub for a reason. He’d been on gay dating sites and been around the club. This was most likely a man who was taught his entire life by society and/or religion that being gay is shameful and unnatural and sinful. THAT is the main source. Until there’s equality, until you can’t be fired legally for being gay, until gay people don’t get disowned by their Mormon families for being themselves, until LGBT youth stop committing suicide because of this, it’s offensive and hypocritical for anyone to say this isn’t about being gay.

    Look at the statistics of suicides after the new policy. Think about that for a minute. Don’t go off about love when the organization you belong to actively excludes and condemns the LGBT community. You can’t be friends and love them while also telling them they’re apostates, and need to be fixed, and that they can’t bring their significant other to thanksgiving dinner, because of the “example” they’re setting for family members.

    • To the community of LGBTs and their supporters. I wish with all my heart that you who are bashing the LDS Church (as well as many other Christian religions) over this could know what is actually in the hearts and minds of the members. We believe that all the so called “condemnation” of the practice homosexuals who are actively engaging in sex with the same gender does not come from us as individuals, but from our Heavenly Father. We KNOW that it’s not our place to judge. I think most members of the Church try very hard not to. But gays and their friends who are so harshly judging believers in God, calling us bigoted haters couldn’t be further from the truth, and really aren’t trying very hard to understand where we come from. We sincerely believe it’s a commandment from God to only have sex with one’s spouse of the opposite gender AFTER marriage. And we want very much to follow His commandments. Whether YOU agree with our beliefs or not isn’t the problem. And whether we believe or not that you just can’t help loving who you love isn’t the problem either. It’s this fire of animosity that you have toward us that is tearing you all to pieces. There is just as much ugliness toward those who sincerely believe in God, Jesus Christ and our prophet as there is supposedly toward you. We all need to take a step back, take a deep breath and try to see things from our opposite’s perspective. Do really think LDS hate gays?? Do you think we would ever condone killing of any human being simply because of their attractions? This anti-religion propaganda has gotten so far out of hand. There are a precious few (I’ve seen 2-3 videos-obviously none from any LDS) who truly condemn gays to death or want to harm them in any way. Please try to see things realistically. LDS are your friends. What you perceive as mean spirited bigotry is actually just the opposite. concern for you not only in this life but in the next. If you don’t want our concern, please let us know without vulgarity and profanity that offends us.

      OK, enough of that. My only observation besides the over reaction to this blog (“erasure”- really?) is that not only was it a gay bar, but it was Latin night and from what I can tell most of the victims have Hispanic last names. But I haven’t seen the Hispanic community trying to commandeer all the sympathy available. Most of the victims were men. Do we see an uprising of men saying it’s so unfair MEN were targeted and crying out that this was an attack on the MALE gender?

      Yes it was a bar where gays went frequently. Without a doubt the killer knew that. and most likely due to his affiliation with the mosques and radical imams, he was super conflicted and angry about gays, especially if he himself had those attractions. But he also pledged allegiance to ISIS who are out to kill or at least control the lot of us. Not just gays. He happened to choose a gay bar Sat night. But he could have chosen any number of venues, including Disneyworld.

      So I think it’s only logical to spread the sympathy around a little more and say, absolutely this was about hate, anger, and fear rather than myopically adhering to the idea that it was gays and gays only that he was targeting. Of course we hurt for the LGBT community who lost their friends. But we also hurt for human beings- families who lost loved ones, a bar owner whose business has been squashed, the Latino community who has been deeply affected, by-standers with no connection to LGBT’s who may suffer with PTSD now just for being in the vicinity that night. For police and medical personnel who had to deal with the dead and dying and who lost sleep caring for victims.

      So if I might just gently ask that you get over yourselves just a little and extend your sympathies beyond your tight knit selves and realize the whole dang nation is in shock and hurting over this. And scared about what comes next! It’s not ALL about you.

      • Does it seem at all disingenuous that the God you worship is white, heterosexual and male? He looks like you. He acts like you. He thinks like you. Perhaps, it’s ALL about you.

      • Well, for one thing I’m not male. And how do you even know I’m white? Lots of assumptions you’re making.

  20. Absolute Hatred wouldn’t have allowed an ounce of Evil Ambition.

    Hatred is naturally MORAL. Ambition is naturally A-MORAL.

    Learn the difference you idiots or you will keep giving power to COWARDS & LIARS who will never protect anyone but their own interests.

    If you deprive yourself or are deprived of living your dream, you are more likely to burst in glorious light….a light….that kills with black definition that affirms your glory.

    That is at the heart of all violence.

    Hate is simply how you see the difference between things. Ambition is how it is externalized.

    The Corrupted Feminine is the source of evil & is how The Masculine ever became corrupted.

    Hatred isn’t evil by itself. Raw Ambition above innocence & beyond the family however, is.

    Gays use state-violence to get what they want. Muslims use state-violence to get what they want. Feminists use state-violence to get what they want. Socialists use state-violence to get what they want.

    Wake the hell up & realize that Hate doesn’t kill. The Black Spear is The Time-Line Of Life. The White Knife is Inner-Sense/In-No-Sense/In-All-Sense. The Twisted Circle is The Universe.

    Muslims worship a BLACK CUBE WITH A SILVER VAGINA THAT THEY MUST AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIVES *TOUCH*. This is literally what makes them so reactive.

    This article is written by a fool who refuses to stand up for himself & must HIDE behind the warmth of the collective while giving up any individual responsibility in reaction to the threat he faces.

  21. This whole article comes off as a very nice attempt from a very privileged individual who doesn’t quite grasp the situation.

    Yes of course the victims were human beings, but they were first and foremost LGBT human beings.

    The massacre was a hate crime, specifically against the LGBT community. To ignore these people as members of the LGBT community invalidates an intrinsic part of who they are as fellow human beings, and to deny the identity of the 49 victims is an insult to their memory.

    I don’t expect you to ever “get” what it is to be LGBT, and I would never wish that on you either. Understanding what it is to be a member of the LGBT community only comes when you can understand what it’s like to be considered inherently flawed by society. It comes when rejection and hatred come even from parents and family members who were supposed to provide unconditional love. It comes when literally EVERY decision you make: which clothes to put on in the morning, where to seek housing or employment, the level of involvement your family can tolerate in your life, etc. comes with a potential consequence.

    When I go out in public with my boyfriend, even something as simple as holding his hand can be considered an act of defiance. I’ve been called a Faggot in public more than once, and I have genuinely feared for my life in certain public places just because of my sexual orientation. I have it fairly easy compared to many and I’ve never personally been physically harmed yet, but the fear is a constant part of life for every LGBT person.

    One wonderful piece of being gay, however, is the fact that there is such a deep bond between all of us. Sure, the stereotype suggests that all gay men are sarcastic and rude, but that’s just a defense mechanism that most of us had to develop during adolescence. On a deeper level though, those of us who are part of the LGBT community know, when we feared that our families would reject us and that society would never fully accept us, we had to learn to choose our own families. We all know what it is to be hated for a sexual identity that we cannot change. People who have never had to face the internal struggle of trying desperately to suppress their own nature in favor of the societal norm (an endeavor which is destined to fail every time) don’t understand.

    But when I see my LGBT peers, I know that they have been through the exact same struggle. They know what it’s like to walk through hate and come out the other side. And whether I know them personally or not, they are my family.

    Now, I have to tolerate being casually hated every day. I have to sit through snide comments from my own family saying that marriage should only be between a man and a woman while they smile and laugh and say we just need to “agree to disagree on this.” I have to live with the knowledge that I can legally be fired in certain states just because I’m gay. I stIll get to listen to people use the term “gay” to mean “stupid” or “flawed.” I have to deal with the overwhelming stress during holidays, knowing that I can’t bring my boyfriend to visit because my own father said “I don’t want to be reminded of your lifestyle when I see you. I don’t want anything to do with it.”

    Above everything else, I am a gay man. Before I am an American, in a country that doesn’t even allow me to donate my perfectly healthy blood to help my fellow LGBT brothers and sisters. Before I am a Hansen, in a family that doesn’t even consider my relationship valid. Even before I say that I am human, I am a proud member of the LGBT community where I am accepted 100%

    The victims of this horrible tragedy understood this. They knew the sanctuary that exists in a gay club, where no one is there to cast judgement or harm based on your sexual orientation. They all lived through the pain of coming out. They all learned to find self-love when love couldn’t be found elsewhere. They were LGBT and they were brutally murdered because of it.

    So yes. They were human souls, and your article was very pretty and sweet. But let’s not erase the real issue here, and please don’t try to paint this with your own “twist” to make it more palatable to your religious tastes. If you can’t mourn LGBT people, then don’t mourn at all please, because we won’t believe it. Keep the lip service in your LDS church where it belongs.

  22. This was a MAGNIFICENT word on the subject…thank you so much, Kayla. You said it all, and said it quite beautifully. I am sharing with everyone.

  23. When a minority group are targeted in violence, the best way to know how to help that minority group is to ask them. Listen to what they say and recognize that they have more authority and credibility than you to know what their community needs. They live their situation every day. They know best what they need.

    What you have done, Kayla, and what so many people do, especially white people, was offer your opinion as though it’s as valid as the queer community’s. It’s not. Your outsider opinion can never be as valid as an insider opinion. “Here is how I, a white Mormon woman, think this problem with violence against the queer community should be solved!” Who cares what you think? You’re wrong.

    I will say it again for those in the back: WE JUST NEED TO BE LEFT ALONE. Don’t kill us. Don’t shout slurs at us. Don’t try to take away our rights. Just ignore us and let us live in peace. You don’t have to like us, you don’t have to understand us, you don’t have to celebrate our marriages and families. All you have to do is stop harming. That’s it.

    And the reason why that needs to be the focus of every message is that THIS IS DOABLE, and this puts the onus on the offenders to take accountability for their own behaviour. Telling people who feel justified by scripture to hate to stop hating is not ever going to work. Trying to distract attention from what we say we need is to harm us. Whether you mean to or not, you are harming, Kayla.

    We don’t need you and your special brain to solve this problem for us with your own outsider ideas. You can use your platform to spread the ideas and words and pain of queer people, if you really want to help. But if what you’re really after is blog fodder and page views and pats on the back for being so loving and amazing and wise, keep doing what you are doing, serving your ego and no one else. This is not what I, as a queer person needs. This is not what my queer family needs. It does seem to be a lot of what YOU need.

  24. Interesting…can you read the hate in many of the replies? It’s a shallow bunch who cannot see the bigger picture, and realize that all of these issues are indeed related. On a certain level, it matters not what group is targeted, and what person or group does the targeting – the underlying hatred is a universal attribute that can be taught and nurtured, regardless of the circumstance. Open your minds a little, and for some of you, you might begin by seeing past your own bias (hatred) against the LDS community.

    • Why do you assume that when we correct people that we must also hate them? Believe it or not I love my LDS faith and the fact that I am also gay. I will not deny, however, that it has been a difficult life because of those two competing parts of my life.

  25. This is one of the most genuinely heartfelt yet utterly ignorant things I have ever read. Please don’t try to educate the world on things you will never understand.

  26. I understand the sentiment behind this post, and the perception that you are coming from. That said, I also have to state that it comes from a place of ignorance.

    You are right in stating that the 50 were not just gay, but fails to recognize that in this slaughter nothing else mattered except the fact that the victims were gay. They were not murdered for any other reason.

    In the days following the attack, what I saw being said by the (nonasshole) straight community was sorrow, support, and grief. While those sentiments were shared by the gay community, the reality is that we were talking about how scared we were to go to a club. We were talking about how terrifying it is to live in a world where you might be slaughtered because someone has an issue with who are attracted to. We looked out at the world and saw what is happening to homosexuals in Russia and the Middle East. And for a time it was no longer happening to them- It was happening to us.

    You then look towards a culture that continues to divide and separate it’s constituents, categorize them, and create a hierarchy as to who is more important, who is superior, who is natural, and who deserves love.

    Yes this is very much about hate and that is something we all need to recognize. But stating that the massacre of 50 homosexuals and allies in a gay bar wasn’t about gay’s; would be like trying to state that slavery wasn’t about blacks or that the holocaust wasn’t about Jew’s.

    While the underlying factors which led to those groups being targeted really had nothing to do with them, they are the communities that suffered. They are the scapegoats. They are the victims…

    And for a white, millenial, female blogger to sit high on her privilege and attempt to educate us about something she will probably never (Lucky for her) understand, is disrespectful and lacks tact.

    Honey, this had everything to do with gay.

  27. I enjoyed reading this article. If everyone could find a more loving place in their hearts, our world would be better. I am surprised about the comments that attack this women’s view. Her view sounds like it is coming from a place of love and eternal worth. I just don’t get the angry comments! Sometimes, I feel the only view that is acceptable to all – is their view. That’s wrong! Thanks for sharing….

    • We just want her to understand that even in the title minimizes the dangers we in the LGBTQ community face every day. To be truly empathetic, one must admit the true reasons people suffer. In this instance, they were attacked because they were gay. Don’t take that away from them.

  28. I read alot of the comments after the article and have to say I agree with many. To take away the fact that these were LGTB individuals and that this was in fact a hate crime against them for being Who they are, to discount this and ignore it because it feels better to to just call them children of God, to pretend that this wasn’t an attack on the LGTB community is very very sad.
    Yes we all need to Love more, to teach our children to love more… but dehumanizing a group of individuals because of who they are is simply wrong.
    If you want to preach unconditional love, then live it. Accept who people are, don’t try to csll them something different or ignore who they are to make yourself feel better about How you love.
    There Must be change in the world to stop hate.
    LGTB individuals Are children of God, the same as you and I are.

    My view? Perhaps they have been placed in our lives to test US.. not to test them. Will we love Unconditionally or will we persecute them “In the name of God” and how will He feel about that? I for one will not kneel before Him in judgement and have yo explain why I used Him as an excuse to exclude a son or daughter of His because He made them different. And make no mistake that this is the case. God made us all, and God doesn’t make mistakes.

  29. This is a good thought an all, and I think I understand what your saying. It is about hate, but it’s because he hated gay people.

    Saying this isn’t about gays is like saying 9/11 wasn’t about us being Americans, it was about hate.

    Of course it is about hate!! But this gay club was targeted during pride month. He went to that club and shot those 50 souls because they were gay. They died marytrs and died being proud members of the LGBT community.

    We need to honor the fact these 50 were gay! They were proud and we should be too! Ignoring that fact about what made these people individuals, goes to only fuel that hate that caused this crime.

    I’m not looking to pick a fight and I’m sorry if I’m coming across as aggressive or mean. But this post seems to have an underlying message of “love the sinner not the sin” and “we should mourn them not for who they were but for who they could be.” Which is stifling and heartbreaking because these individuals were targeted because they were gay.

    This is about hate, about hating those that are different from us and those that challenge our beliefs. And that hate needs to stop.

  30. Saying the Orlando shooting wasn’t about gay people, it was about hate is like saying the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about states rights. The Civil War was about one states right: the right to allow slavery. And the Orlando shooting was about one kid of hatred, the hatred of gay people. A hatred which has been engendered by both Christianity and Islam. To try to generalize this is to belittle the struggle gay people still go through to be able to live their lives in peace.

    • Perfect.

      The biggest massacre in U.S. history wasn’t about gays–except that those are the people that are dead. Please let their families have a chance to mourn before you take away their identities.

  31. I am so disappointed by this rhetoric. What’s even more disappointing is how it’s being praised as a viewpoint that a growing collective of Mormon individuals are rallying behind. To say that any scriptural or religious persecution had nothing to do with theology is equally as ignorant as what this author is trying to say.

    Moses and the Hebrews were persecuted directly because of their heritage. The Nephites were hated by the Lamanites because of their devotion to their religion. Jospeh Smith was martyred because he was hated for being a man that was a prophet of God that restored the gospel as we know it today. Jesus Christ was crucified because he made righteous claims that he was the Savior of the world and the only begotten Son of His Father. Yes, hate is ugly – but so is indifference to those being directly afflicted by hate.

    The people that were gunned down and murdered were specifically sought out because of their sexual preference. And to claim that their loss is due to some uncorrelated hate does them an incredible disservice. As a gay woman who is still fighting for her place in this church this article reminds me why I am finding so difficult to feel at home here. This article is arming members of the church to claim to emulate the very characteristics of who we claim to dedicate discipleship – Jesus Christ – yet distastefully separates we as Christians from the very people suffering. Whether it be their gender, their race or their sexual orientation or any other variable that brings about acts of hatred.

  32. Yes, you’re right, this shooting involved hate. It was bred of hate. But honey, that hate was directed at a specific group of individuals because of who they were. They were gay, and the hate was directed at gay people. It’s not hard to see this with all the evidence coming out. But you probably haven’t followed it that closely. You have followed the story as far as it fits into your narrative. It doesn’t take a PhD to know HATE is the root cause of all acts of terror and murder. However, HATE is the tip of the iceberg. Had you taken the time to dive down, you would see that the murderer struggled with his own homosexual feelings. He hated that part of him. This act was a sort of atonement for his sins. His HATE was directed at the dark part of him (his gay side). And so you miss the mark when you stop at “this was hate, period.” It is far more.

  33. While I generally like and agree with this article, one change needs to be addressed. We are not all “children of God.” But we are all God’s creations. This may sound like semantics, but the difference is significant. All of us have intrinsic value and worth in the sight of God. All of us have sinned. The same Savior died that all of us might have reunification with our Creator. BUT only those who have been adopted into the family of God through His Son, the Christ, are “children of God.” It is disingenuous and dangerous to believe that no matter what our beliefs or actions, everyone will spend eternity with the Lord. Love speaks the truth no matter what.

  34. I do not think the author was trying to erase the identites of The LGBT Community at all. I feel it gave a greater perspective to those who hate The LGBT Community. When an individual makes a judgement to hate homosexuals, they do not realize what they are saying. Many may not realize that, homosexuals belong to families, like everyone else. They work hard and are amazing citizens to have in a community. They are loving, good, and beautiful people.
    After this incident I heard a comment speaking of the killer, “That man is being shamed for what he did, I think he deserves a medal!” These are the kinds of people who need to read this article and realize, they are as shameful as the killer.
    As for the title, HATE IS THE GREATEST MASSACRE! It has killed by the masses. Hate that is not just against gays, but everyone and their identities they hold. Black, hispanic, son, or brother we are all targeted by hate. The article is against hate of any sort. So that hopefully, those who read it realize to show more love in their lives. So that the next person who wants to bring harm to The LGBT Community, thinks twice of what they are doing. This article is for not only those who hate LGBT, but for every sort of hater existing. Why focus on one type of hatred, when you can address ALL hatred in every form? We want to prevent ALL future hate crimes, not just a certain kind. I feel we all may fall under the identity of “hater” to an extent. Haters of gays, haters mormons, even haters of this article. We are not helping in hating more and more based off of this tragic event. Love is key, and if we do believe that loving is better than hating, then let us live it.
    I love this article, I love The LGBT Community, and I strive to Love.

  35. I do not think the author was trying to erase the identites of The LGBT Community at all. I feel it gave a greater perspective to those who hate The LGBT Community. When an individual makes a judgement to hate homosexuals, they do not realize what they are saying. Many may not realize that, homosexuals belong to families, like everyone else. They work hard and are amazing citizens to have in a community. They are loving, good, and beautiful people.
    After this incident I heard a comment speaking of the killer, “That man is being shamed for what he did, I think he deserves a medal!” These are the kinds of people who need to read this article and realize, they are as shameful as the killer.
    As for the title, HATE IS THE GREATEST MASSACRE! It has kills by the masses. Hate that is not just against gays, but everyone and their identities they hold. Black, hispanic, son, or brother we are all targeted by hate. The article is against hate of any sort. So that hopefully, those who read it realize to show more love in their lives. So that the next person who wants to bring harm to The LGBT Community, thinks twice of what they are doing. This article is for not only those who hate LGBT, but for every sort of hater existing. Why focus on one type of hatred, when you can address ALL hatred in every form? We want to prevent ALL future hate crimes, not just a certain kind. I feel we all may fall under the identity of “hater” to an extent. Haters of gays, haters mormons, even haters of this article. We are not helping in hating more and more based off of this tragic event. Love is key, and if we do believe that loving is better than hating, then let us live it.
    I love this article, I love The LGBT Community, and I strive to love.

  36. I actually don’t even think most Mormons or religious people hate LGBTs. I don’t hate a single one although I need to forgive a few for being crude and personally hurtful to me. I don’t think at the core it’s even religious. I’d call it anti biological. Sure we hear that it’s a sin to act on SSA from our pastors, bishops, prophets, etc. But I believe it’s mostly just purely befuddling and disorienting to heterosexuals that anyone would want to act out that way with someone of their same body configuration. Simply stated, the puzzle pieces don’t fit. The fact that something so preposterous (according to hetero minds) has reached the level of attention, legislation and the upsetting of societal norms since the beginning of humanity, is what we despise. So this is my opinion and i should have the right to state that without having my house burned down. I do “get” that LGBT’s completely disagree with me. I’m not going to burn their house down either. I’m more compassionate than that.

    If people with these attractions want to act on it, in the privacy of their own bedrooms, we heteros have no say, can’t stop them if they are consenting adults. Whatever floats your boat. it’s their prerogative. I won’t ever agree that it’s normal nor will I understand it. I shouldn’t have to. But now that, despite what LGBTs say (we just want to be left alone) their attractions and lifestyle are compelling the way the rest of us are living our own lives, from how we conduct business to how we educate our children and even to where we shop. THAT’s what we hate and why we feel put upon. That’s where the negative pushback is coming from. I agree some of those changes we have to make in order to accommodate this growing thing in our society are minor and don’t disrupt life very much. I still shop at Target but avoid using their bathrooms, just look away from gay PDA, and the like. I actually don’t really care for some hetero PDA either. But some of the changes foisted upon society are just too much to ask. For example:
    -Being forced out of business and made to pay hundreds of thousands rather than support this new and unnatural kind of marriage,
    -Losing jobs and having personal property vandalized because of an adherence to ones belief in man/woman marriages only,
    -Being sworn at, ganged up on and ridiculed for simply not agreeing that kids are equally ok with two dads rather than a mom and a dad,
    -Feeling compelled to home school rather than having their child taught in school that homosexuality is natural and normal,
    -Expecting school children, especially teens to just be quiet and comply with having the opposite sex in their bathrooms and dressing rooms.

    It’s not the LGBTs themselves we hate personally. It’s the changes to society and being despised for not going along with them that we hate. It’s that for one group to flourish, another has to be put down and trampled under foot that inspires hate. And even here I think “Hate” is too strong a word. It’s more like profound disappointment. There has to be a better way to compromise. It’s not about hating or loving. It’s about learning to work together so that neither side is left with no recourse. It’s saying, OK I don’t agree with you or you with me, but how about such and such an idea that would be fair and reasonable for both sides? Why is this so hard to achieve? I for once would like to see our national leaders act with diplomacy and common sense, without politicizing every policy to establish peaceful solutions. That would be a good start towards eliminating such fiery emotions on these topics.

    Aside from all that rambling above, I still think ISIS and radical Islam played into this tragedy much, much more than most LGBTs will admit. And I don’t think Christianity played into it one. single. iota!

    • I am so sorry you have been treated so poorly by those who you have chosen to so lovingly and reasonably tell that they have broken the laws of nature. How could any Christian be misunderstood. Those dang, awful Islams. They are so mean. Was that too fiery for you? Sorry. I don’t mean to offend. It is totally befuddling and disorienting to us heterosexuals. Just EW! No reasonable law would require Christians to bake cakes for those that don’t fit together. HF has blessed us all with trials. If you endure to the end, He will restore you to heterosexuality. In the meantime, don’t fall in love because that would just not work in the hereafter. I hope you don’t take this wrong cause there was not.one.iota of sarcasm.

  37. A few things. First of all I feel like it is brushing aside the fact that it did occur at a gay night club and it brushes aside the fact that the attacker was in fact specifically targeting gay people. That is the reason why this cuts so deeply for the gay community and has had a profound impact on them. Yes there is general hate in the world and there is senseless violence on many occasions and of course I agree that this idea of general hate that fuels people to kill people needs to be combated by love. But this article essentially brushes aside the fact that gay people were intentionally targeted and to brush that aside is not okay. Another point, the attacker was likely gay himself seeing as some of the articles that were published mentioned that he frequented that particular gay club and that he was using gay dating websites. His parents also remarked that he had seen two gay men in Miami shortly before the attack being affectionate with each other in public and made a derogatory comment. It was also reported by his coworker that he was also a bigot that spoke derogatorily towards people of other races such as black people. So when we say it doesn’t matter whether they were white or black (or in this case Latino), gay or straight, actually it has everything to do with it because I am convinced that our society taught the attacker to hate himself for being gay so much (plus a little online ISIS brainwashing), and to hate people who were different that he felt led to commit a mass killing at a gay night club on a Noche Latina. The writer of that article also didn’t mention the fact that the vast majority of the 50 who died were Latino which is so horrible and unimaginable that we are living in times when people are actually performing ethnic cleanings. What’s even scarier is that when it happens, people like the writer of this article don’t call it for what it is. Being someone who is gay and who is married to a gay Latino, I am appalled after reading this. Do we need a gay flag at half mast above the Space Needle to acknowledge this? I think so. Do we need to acknowledge the fact that the majority of the 50 were Latino, what’d you think?

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