Random discussions can come within the amazingly diverse group of friends I have. One of these conversations started a few weeks ago and he stated “I just can’t tolerate the intolerant.” This at first seemed like a statement that would just go by the wayside yet it festered in my mind. It whirled around and found traction but I couldn’t see the reason to bring it to the masses here in my blog. Then when I woke up on Sunday and heard about the mass shooting of the Pulse club in Orlando the topic suddenly became very important. Yet even that, there is so much more inside my own head.
I am an open and out transgender female, sure in my past I hid it well and I also very much compensated for my masculinity. I did all I could to ignore the thoughts in my head. This involved many things from building cars and amassing guns all in an attempt to be some sort of over masculine manly man. In all of this compensation I hated who I was. I despised being transgender and the thought of having a gay friend bothered me an insane amount. Self hatred that was internalized and shaped the company I kept.
I’ve written before that I am a gun collector. I collect mostly vintage arms and own a few in the 90’s “pre ban” era. 95% of my collection is bolt action firearms that were used in various country’s between 1891 and 1944 and only 3 of them accept a detachable magazine. My collection is locked away in a safe at a family members house away from my kids. I tend to fall into that epiphany of a responsible gun owner and have a passion for them. I was a part of a you tube shot show and always preached safety. I am not a member of the NRA, nor am I one to openly carry. I am always willing to educate and teach others the safe and effective purchase, use, and safety of firearms.
I know that fear can be raised in many by the knowledge that a firearm is near just as I respect my friends who I know are against them and will not bring it to their house. With this knowledge you can understand that my friends list in social media is comprised of both sides in this discussion and I have had to do some hard soul searching to see where I should stand. How is it right for me to be pissed off at the loss of 49 people then to stand up and scream “from my cold dead hands”…. It’s not and I can’t. I can no longer pretend like this stuff doesn’t happen.
Then I have some friends who like the “good guy with a gun” argument. I’ve said this before myself but again… It seems in vain. See in the Pulse Night club I know that a few were military including one man who was a captain in the military and also a Lowes Associate. I can be sure that many of the patrons were intoxicated. This is not a smart thing to hope a drunk person with a gun can stop a psychopath in a crowded bar. So why do I lay all this out you may ask… Well it’s to lay myself on the line. I just don’t see it as much anymore and I think that something has to change.
49 people lost their lives to a man who was investigated twice by the FBI, yet managed to legally buy a gun. He managed to have a clean record to purchase the firearm yet was rejected the purchase of body armor. No one though to question this? So now I have been moving my priorities, sure maybe it is a bit late, but I hope it’s better than never. Let’s figure out why it’s easier to buy a gun than to buy 2 packs of Sudafed.
So back to the earlier conversation… Tolerating the intolerant. I do this well and my friend, not so much. I can see that differences in us all will cause some turmoil (just as my last few paragraphs will). I understand that the views and opinions of others need to be viewed and addressed respectively and if someone doesn’t like me for my honesty or my views, I can still hold them as my friend and value their lives and liberties so long as they don’t try to hurt another.
So in tolerating the intolerant was I right or wrong? In my previous religion (that I don’t practice or believe anymore) I was taught, yet not shown the same. I don’t have an issue with other religious people, just the extremists in the religions. So as the events from the Pulse night club came to pass I realized that intolerance is rooted in the basis of this evil. Ironically the evil that was shown came from pastors and religious people. Scary to be sure but seems pretty scary these days when years ago someone I’m no longer friends with said “praise God and pass the ammo”.
The intolerance is dividing the world and now we have religious leaders preaching hate, intolerance, and bigotry to whoever wants to listen. Now obviously not every religious person is this way and we must understand that. Most of the people in this world are amazing and compassionate. Sure, there are some demons among us and that’s scary but I would hope that if we continue spreading the love we all have for the betterment of society this world will become a much better place. A place where hatred is not found as a common ground but found as repulsive to everyone as the mass shootings. Showing love and unity in our nation should not be limited to mass casualty situations but should be everyday.
This my friends is how I tolerate the intolerant. I love them. All of them. Without question. I love those who hate me and I live those who love me. Maybe it’s time we all do that and stop killing each other because of differences. Just a thought to ponder as we mourn the loss of all those lives and feel for the family’s who have lost their love ones. It is time for a change and though I don’t have the answer for what the right change would be, we can’t continue losing the lives of Americans through hate fuel rampages anymore.