Orlando should have brought out our best; it hasn't

The horrific events in Orlando this past week have been written about by people far more eloquent than I this week — and my friends in the LGBTQ community have spoken to it with a level of authenticity I could never attempt to match. The nature of the events should inspire solidarity — a minority group targeted by a home-grown terrorist who is inspired by events overseas — but it seems to have only brought out the worst aspects of America. In a year filled with actions that I fear will lead to ruin of the conservative movement, the GOP response to the attack has been tone-deaf. The party’s consistent failure to embrace LGBTQ Americans, along with it’s steadfast refusal to pass any measure of gun control reform is insane.

Rhetoric on both sides needs to cool
After every mass shooting, there are entirely sensible calls for gun control that even the NRA ought to embrace. Universal background checks, basic licensure (as in driving), and higher taxes on certain calibers of ammunition are all things that help keep guns out of the wrong hands, and preserve the second amendment right I, and so many others, responsibly exercise. Slate’s senior editor today wrote about an issue that irks me and I think contributes to the lack of compromise on gun control: the absolute ignorance of many non-gun owners about gun usage and gun laws. When left-leaning articles misstate basic facts about firearms used in shootings it undermines their authority when arguing for gun control. The fact is the AR-15 is functionally no different from the Ruger Mini-14 (which no one wants to ban!). It’s used in more shootings because it’s the most popular gun in America. It's also important to highlight that the need for gun control is NOT driven by mass shootings, which are rare. The need for gun control is driven by the violence that happens every day, and using mass shootings as a justification for gun control, like ignorance about guns themselves, only undermines the argument to second amendment supporters. So both sides need to take a step back: gun owners need to recognize that not every additional gun law is the beginning of a slippery slope, and gun control advocates need to learn more about the issue in a way that will allow gun owners to see legitimacy in their arguments.*

The wrong way to go about it
Two sensible articles on gun control from left-leaning Slate! Of all the ways to go about controlling access to guns, the terror watch list is the absolute worst possible idea. The fact that our government has a secret list it uses to encumber Americans for anything (into which they have no insight, no appeal, and no due process) is offensive. Using it to restrict any constitutional right is a slippery slope that anyone on the right or left ought to be terrified by. 

The GOP Trump dillema
Aside from gun control, the other big takeaway from Orlando is that Trump called it. The continued GOP tolerance of Trump (see Reince Preibus’ tweet from the Trump plane earlier this week) is offensive. There is no Trump GOP dilemma: any American of conscience should be completely and totally disavowing Donald Trump and what he stand for. I think most of Donald Trump’s policy proposals — trade war with China, exiting NATO, reneging on defense agreements, and closer ties with Russia, among others — are moronic. I also recognize that they are legitimate policy positions. Wholesale discrimination against religious groups, veiled threats against Americans due to their ethnicity or religion, embracing torture, and vindictiveness against the judiciary are not policy planks. They are fundamentally un-American attitudes. The GOP ought to show the courage to come out against Trump and deny him the nomination for these exact reasons. There’s only one dilemma in the GOP, and it’s not Donald Trump. It’s a lack of courage by those in power.

The bathroom masturbator with 22 kids
A lighter note, courtesy of the NY Post! Ari Nagel is a CUNY professor who contributes to the good of the community by serving as a sperm donor for those in need… under highly unethical circumstances. He essentially meets women in public places (or apparently will have intercourse with them) to donate sperm so they might conceive. Thanks for keeping it weird, world.

Liberal hypocrisy around the Stanford rape case
Six months is an obscene sentence for rape. No matter how you try to spin the facts around the case, and no matter how fast a swimmer the rapist is, we can not embrace that level of leniency for a violent crime. But the push to remove the judge? Inappropriate. I don’t like elected judges to begin with: they ought to be able to make their decisions without the pressure of public opinion and be accountable to the legislature in egregious breaches of ethics. Six months was the wrong sentence to give the Stanford rapist, but recalling the judge sends a message that will be harmful in the long-run: it is in no one’s interest for judges to be issuing sentences based on the specter of recall in the back of their minds.

Please don’t Brexit.
The United Kingdom’s closest global partner has a non-trivial chance of electing a person who aspires to reduce global ties, trade, and pledges of defense. Russia is also increasingly belligerent — yet some believe now is the time for change? Britain is connected with the EU whether they like it or not. The uncertainties around the globe and the potential risk to London as the gateway to the EU’s financial markets is not worth whatever perceived gain there might be by limiting immigrants or sticking it to Germany. The EU experiment continues to flounder, but pragmatics dictate it and the UK are stuck together, like it or not.

Why startups are struggling
American entrepreneurship is at an all-time low. What’s interesting is that companies who have the potential for high-growth: those with patents or (my favorite indicator) are not named after their founder, are being started at an all-time high. Despite fewer sustenance businesses and more aspiring to scale, less and less are able to make that leap. MIT pegs a lot of underlying causes for this, but my experience is that many of them are simply too product driven. They just do not understand how to communicate a good message to the market and gain adoption.

* before anyone gets upset: yes, the onus here is more on gun control advocates than the NRA. Like it or not, changing the status quo is harder than preserving it. Right or wrong, upending certain elements of the gun lobby will require those seeking change to make the first move simply because inertia is not on their side.