Openly gay libertarian candidate issues statement on Orlando shooting

Thomas Simmons
Thomas Simmons
Libertarian for U.S. House

Thomas Simmons, the openly gay Libertarian candidate for Congress in Western Massachusetts’ First District, issued the following statement today in response to the Orlando shooting.

“Words can not convey the depth of heartache that accompanies this terrible tragedy. Just two weeks ago, I was in Orlando at the Libertarian Party National Convention, and patronized the nightclubs in this very neighborhood. The Pulse was not just a nightclub, but a community epicenter for Orlando’s LGBT community. This horror — occurring during the nation’s Pride celebrations — was made even worse for us all when we learned that at least two of the victims had direct ties to western Massachusetts.

“We must never give in to hate, whether that hate is directed against the gay community, immigrants, or the Muslim community. The politics of hate and division has been all too prevalent in recent political campaigns, and Americans from all walks of life must stand together in refusing to allow our diverse, liberty-loving nation to be torn apart by those who would seek to divide and conquer.

“As a gay man, I have long been painfully aware that, statistically, I am more likely to be assaulted than most; for that reason, I have a concealed carry (LTC–A) license for self-protection. In spite of the fact that I have Homeland Security Clearance through my activities with the U.S. Coast Guard, and have been fingerprinted through the FBI no fewer than eleven times during the course of my life, it still took me more than 8 months to receive this license to carry in Massachusetts. The fact that it took me 8 months, while the Orlando terrorist was granted a license to work in Private Security after having been investigated by the FBI three times for terrorist connections, points to a breakdown in the nation’s security systems that puts innocent lives at risk while allowing criminal elements to proceed unchecked.

“It is a sad reality that we will never live in an incident-free utopia; that simply is not possible. We must avoid quick, feel-good solutions and clichés in dealing with terrorism, both domestic and foreign, even though our raw emotions might demand action. Thoughtful but decisive changes  and a commitment to rejecting hate on all sides, while preserving all American’s civil liberties  is the only way forward.”

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