The first thing I heard in the news this morning while out running Hera with my friend and hunting buddy Jason and his dog Nos was that of the terror attack in Orlando, Florida. The attacker, Omar Mateen, gunned down 50 people and injured at least 53 in a gay night club called Pulse in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was killed in a shootout with police. According to a report on CNN, the attacker allied himself with ISIS. He was armed with a Glock pistol. His family said he disliked gay people. I accept all that can be done when such an atrocity is perpetrated is bury the dead and comfort the living. Unfortunately, it will not be so simple. I am bracing myself for the histrionics and finger-pointing to follow as it always does. The attacker was Muslim and in lawful possession of a firearm. People are going to point the finger at Muslims and gun owners alike in assessing blame for this horror.
I am a lifelong gun owner and hunter. I count among my friends and hunting buddies men who are observant Christians and Muslims. They know I am gay and in a relationship with my husband, Mika and accept me. Like me, they judge a man according to the content of his character and nothing else. Here we are, a gay huntsman, Christian and Muslim family men who own and use guns for legitimate and peaceful sporting purposes. One of my friends and hunting buddies, Omer, with whom I have gone hunting since we met in 2000, made this observation on Facebook.
I’m also concerned of the inevitable conclusions against guns and Muslims. Whether or not there’s a connection, I’m afraid that is going to be the narrative by the media.
Such a heinous crime, I don’t have words to even condemn it properly.
I understand his concern and share it. What Omar Mateen did in the name of his faith is unconscionable. He was insane, and the fact that ISIS and its sympathizers praise him posthumously for this is beyond the pale. Yes, he was inspired by an interpretation of Islam to carry out this atrocity, but no, it does not mean every Muslim is somehow guilty by association. Yes, he used a legally acquired gun in his killing spree, but no, it does not mean every gun owner somehow shares the blame for his act of insanity. My friends, my hunting buddies and I, Muslim, Christian and of no faith alike, share a passion for hunting and the shooting sports. We will carry on, taking to the field this season as we have for many seasons before. The fact remains we are nobody’s enemy for being men of faith and gun owners. Though I never knew any of the people gunned down and injured in the attack, I am keeping them in my thoughts as they and their families mourn and get on with their lives.
Posted by Geoffrey