Others’ Opinion: Don’t let hate divide us as a nation

Published 10:35 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

St. Cloud Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

Once again, the nation is confronted with a staggering death toll of innocent people from an act of terror and an act of hate.

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This time the target was a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The outcome of the shooting by the deranged gunman is 49 dead and at least 53 wounded. It is the deadliest terror attack since 9/11.

This horrific hate crime again points to the need for a nationwide conversation on how to prevent these attacks.

The conversation needs to be joined by many of our nation’s leaders and the two leading presidential candidates. Top experts in law enforcement, mental health and crime prevention need to be part of the conversation. Religious leaders of all faiths must have a place at the table.

It is time to stop waiting for the next mass shooting to happen. Start finding ways to prevent them.

In a future Our View, we will talk about ways to make it more difficult to possess high-capacity, rapid-fire weapons.

This editorial focuses on stopping the forces that thrive on hate and spur others to act out on their misguided beliefs.

We have said it before and will say it again: Stand up to hate. Stand up to people and groups who promote demonizing people because of their religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender or sexual identification.

The Orlando gunman apparently didn’t choose the gay nightclub at random, according to news reports.

Where did this hate come from? ISIS? Religious beliefs? Fear and lack of self worth?

We may never know the real reason.

We do know how important it is to speak out against hate. Speak out against intolerance.

One way to show support for the LGBT community — and against hate — would be to support the seventh annual St. Cloud Pride Weekend scheduled for Sept.16-18.

We also congratulate the people who gathered Sunday evening at the Stearns County Courthouse to have a conversation about the tragedy in Orlando.

One of the speakers during the gathering said that having people of many religions, ages, genders, gay and straight gather to mourn and show support for the Orlando victims and their families is what our community is really about.

We can’t allow our nation to give in to domestic or international terror and hate. The prevention starts with each of us in our community.