Our hearts go out to the victims of the Orlando shooting. Sadly, these events bring out the worst in people. Look to leaders and politicians to not focus on mourning, but rather how to gain some political advantage from it. Rights groups who believe themselves to be vested in it will use it to promote their causes. Issue advocates will clamor for legislation, using this as an opportunity to gain leverage for their issue. This is all abhorrent behavior. Maybe I am too simple a person to understand the nuances, but let me tell how I feel.

One of America’s strengths throughout the years is that while we have our differences with each other, we set them aside and unite when attacked or threatened. I don’t care if it was a gay bar, a Latino bar, or (insert your own group) bar. It was an American bar. Americans were attacked, at home, where we live. LGBT, gay, straight, it doesn’t matter. Those people were Americans. Besides the victims who were killed or wounded, there are even more American friends and family traumatized, scarred, and grieving.

We should only be doing two things right now. 1 – Express your support and sympathy for those hurt or killed, and their loved ones. 2 – Show a shoulder to shoulder united front against those who would do us harm, and explain to them that while we may have our differences, when attacked, we are all simply Americans… and we will not stand for it.

I offer my sympathy to those who were victims, and their families.

Rep. Steven Smith

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