To the editor:

Ironic! The tragedy of America’s most horrific mass shooting took place in American’s fantasy land – Orlando, home to Disney World and other fantasy attractions.

There’s also something sobering in the terrorist attack in fantasy land. What if that horrific slaughter is the result of fantasies by which too many people live?

There’s the fantasy that hatred is a virtue. It seems acceptable to act out one’s antipathy in response to some real or imagined cause. At the micro level, it’s increasing classroom bullying. At the macro level, it’s Donald Trump’s angry rejection of significant categories of people with traits he doesn’t embrace.

There’s the continuing fantasy that homosexual persons are deviants, rather than persons living out the sexual orientation born into them. It’s no coincidence that the massacre took place in a gay nightclub.

There’s the political fantasy of the ISIS-inspired shooter, who saw violence as responsible political expression.

There’s our national fantasy that if more people have guns, the safer we’ll be, and the companion fantasy that the more awesome the weapon, the more every person should have the right to own it.

There’s the endless fantasy that society can only stem individual disorientation or group dysfunctionality by (essentially) destroying people, rather than investing time and resources in changing the “soil” of poverty, injustice and disenfranchisement in which hatred, revenge and irresponsibility grow.

All who visit Disney World eventually leave that fantasy world and return to the real world. Perhaps after appropriately grieving Orlando’s outrage, we also should leave societal fantasies behind and return to a world of reasoned approaches.

William A. McCartney