The events over the weekend in an Orlando nightclub called Pulse left around 50 dead and another 50 or more injured after a shooter opened fire. The unfortunate and tragic event is the largest mass shooting in all of American history – and its shaken people around the country and around the world. It’s common in times like these for people to express their sadness for those who lost their lives or their loved ones to the incident- and of course, some will always use it for their own gains.
An Oregon Congressmen, Earl Blumenauer, took to Twitter “Words cannot express my sorrow,” he said, “Disgusted by this horrific act on the LGBT community & cowardice of those who won’t pass sensible gun laws.” This statement of course has its own message – better gun laws will keep this sort of things from happening.
Shortly after, a group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana in Oregon (or SAM Oregon) responded with a statement that makes it sound as though they are comparing marijuana to the events in Orlando. “You can’t support 1 threat to public health/public safety and then condemn another. You have failed this state.”
At first look, it definitely appears that they are calling him out for supporting marijuana laws and hoping to restrict access to guns – in essence saying that he is supporting something that could be just as dangerous as what happened in Orlando. In the typically quick fashion that is Twitter, it didn’t take long for their statement to be responded to by many.
It started with Congressman Blumenauer…
@SAM_Oregon Over 32k dead from gun violence each year in US. ZERO dead from marijuana. Your comparison is delusional & shameful.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) June 12, 2016
And then Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority chimed in…
Make sure you see this embarrassing & shameful prohibitionist tweet before @learnaboutsam eventually forces a delete https://t.co/vgXOBdpJnP
— Tom Angell (@tomangell) June 13, 2016
Also Maia Szalavitz, a contributor of TIME and more.
@mjtrigger @repblumenauer @SAM_Oregon never been single OD death. w/o added alcohol, doesn’t seem to increase car death risk.
— Maia Szalavitz (@maiasz) June 13, 2016
Of course, after all this backlash, SAM Oregon came back online saying that everyone else blew it out of proportion, not them. “Blowing our statement out of proportion doesn’t mean you’re right. MJ is a threat to public health/public safety whether you like it or not. I guess this needs to be simplified. Our statement was to this line “cowardice of those who won’t pass sensible gun laws” of…….cont. Rep. Blumenauer’s tweet, not the whole thing.”
I just want to take a moment to say that in the face of an incident like what took place in that nightclub in Orlando, we all need to be standing together – not fighting one another. Don’t use an event to further your own political or personal agenda – which is what both of them were doing in their initial tweets.
Whether it’s promoting stricter gun laws or trying to spread anti-marijuana views, this is not the time or the place for it (I want to make it clear that this is my own opinion.) You cannot take something like the most deadly shooting in all of United States history and compare it to something like marijuana legalization – it’s not right, it’s not accurate and it just shouldn’t be done.
The main cause was homophobic Islamist ideology. Pull your head out if the sand and get some perspective.