Like thousands of other people, every mass shooting affected me and I wrote my share of posts related to the carnage, the tragedy, and the helplessness. I had made that promise to myself but political correctness and Facebook friendships be damned. How could anyone look at the pictures and read the heart-breaking stories and not want action?
As a gay man, I used to think that I knew. I had experienced discrimination from people on the streets and in my family. I had to march in the streets for the right to get married and for equal protection under the law -- I thought that being a part of a minority gave me some insight into what other minorities felt. Turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong.
I know it like the back of my hand, my Turkish airport, the Istanbul airport. When I pass through a place often enough, when I do so bleary eyed and happy to be there, it becomes my place in the world, as in a dream. I sleep on its floors, in crevices that I find, in between flights to Gaziantep to visit my beleaguered Syrian friends who have I have worked with and loved for so many years.
My experience has made me conscious of how gun control advocates like myself are failing America, how gun enthusiasts have good points that need to be understood, and how the only successful approach to reducing gun violence in America needs to involve a hell of a lot more initiatives than regulating the sale of guns.
I'm a Los Angeles-based medical doctor who, for the past 25 years, has specialized in treating the LGBT community. I've witnessed the ravages of AIDS, the physical and psychological trauma of violent hate crimes, depression and suicide in a community specifically targeted for discrimination because of who they love.