Jill Stein, presumptive Green Party Presidential candidate, released the following statement about the recent mass shooting in Orlando:
Martin Luther King Jr said that peace is not the lack of violence. It’s the presence of justice.
Orlando compels us to strive for a vision of justice in a country that respects diversity and allows people to exist freely in a safe and welcoming community – without prejudice against differences of race, religion, country of origin, sexual preference, gender identity or age. We must reject inflammatory attempts to scapegoat all Muslims for this tragedy. We must be free from fear in the streets, at work, in the ballot box, and on the dance floor – a freedom from fear that so many at that Orlando club were seeking on the dance floor that night. We should all stand in solidarity, love and support with members of the LGBTQ community.
Orlando also compels us to come to terms with the epidemic of mass shootings that this barbaric event is the most recent and extreme example of. This conversation must not be silenced by a parallel and important discussion about ending terrorism. We must have both these conversations, and not allow one to dominate the other.
We cannot ignore what the Orlando shooting has in common with Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and the near miss of the would-be homophobic shooter in Los Angeles. We must address the culture of hate and violence, the scourge of homophobia, racism, anti-immigrant violence and domestic abuse, and the desperate mental health needs of growing numbers of Americans. And we must break the stranglehold of the NRA over Congress to provide critical protections for American safety, including an assault weapons ban and background checks.
To stop ISIS, we call for ending the US supply of weapons to terrorists and for a weapons embargo to the Middle East. We also call for freezing the bank accounts of US allies like Saudi Arabia that are continuing to fund terrorism.
Ironically, while the US and allies are fighting terrorism with one hand, with the other hand the US has been the driving force behind the rise of jihadi terrorism ever since it first emerged in Afghanistan in the 1970s. It’s time to end the catastrophic wars on terror that have cost $6 trillion since 2001, tens of thousands of US soldiers killed and maimed, and over a million people killed in Iraq alone. These wars have only produced worse terrorist threats, along with failed states and mass refugee migrations. It’s time to end this failed policy and begin a US foreign policy founded on human rights, international law and diplomacy.