Who are we?

I tried to write the next installment on Things that bring me Joy this morning. But I couldn’t. Joy is limited. It didn’t seem right; didn’t seem appropriate; didn’t seem fair. This blog publishes a wide variety of content. A lot of humor, politics, social commentary. So, I am posting here this morning.

Fifty people were shot and killed in a gay nightclub, whilst dancing, in Orlando, Florida yesterday, another fifty-three were rushed to local hospitals – which were placed on lockdown. Words that should never appear together in any sentence: shot and killed/dancing, hospital/lockdown. Never.

The brain has to process. Can not.

Of course, when I awoke yesterday, the number was “approximately 20.” That’s because that’s what officers could see from their vantage point during the three hour stand off.

Three agonizing hours during which mothers desperately awaited news of their children; lovers searched seas of terror-filled faces thinking, he (or she) was right behind me, I know it.

Hours of unanswered phones, texts. Unspeakable heartbreak, terror, grief.

Three hours, during which one-hundred-three people lay alone, in the dark, unaided on the floor.



Some lay hiding beneath the dead, hoping against hope to survive the ordeal, drenched in the blood of those who did not.


At 5am, shortly after the shooter, Omar Mateen, was shot, killed, the official number of the dead climbed—dramatically. And with fifty-three hospitalized, I expect that number will climb.

We’ll blame it on his religion. We’ll say he was mentally ill. Can’t be because he was homophobic, filled with an unreasonable hate – built from a culture in which homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and bigotry are acceptable. A culture in which the father of a mass murderer feels an appropriate response to his son’s actions is, “he saw two men kissing, that’s what led him to this.”


Who are we?

Perhaps if he did not have access to a gun that, with a simple, legal add-on, can fire 100 rounds per second (Peters, 2013, para 5). Let that sink in: One Hundred Rounds per Second. Why is this legal? This is not a defense weapon. So, if you are going to scream about your right to defend yourself… Stop now.

Just stop.

I can imagine no plausible scenario, outside of a war zone. in which such a weapon is necessary.

You want to rant about your second amendment rights? Yeah, get over yourself—look up the definition of amendment, “a minor change or addition to improve a text or piece of legislation” (OED, 2016). Your right to form a militia does not trump anyone’s right to live.

It just doesn’t.

And no, it’s not too soon to have this conversation. It wasn’t too soon after Columbine, or Aurora, or Sandy Hook, or any of the other hundreds of mass shootings we have experienced. President Obama said yesterday that we need to decide if this is the type of country we want to be…


Dear Mr. President,

Unless the silent majority of LGBT, parents, Muslims, blacks, women take action now, then that decision has been made for us.

Bad things happen when good people do nothing. Who are we, as a nation, if we can watch innocent people slaughtered?

Please note, this blog is moderated – and hate filled responses will not be approved for publication.








4 thoughts on “Who are we?

  1. Pingback: A moment of silence | Things That Bring Me Joy

  2. It’s Tuesday and this event remains in the forefront of my mind. One wonders how many Christian Americans applauded or secretly rejoiced because of the LGBT victims. How many who cried out Sunday by Tuesday, today, have themselves moved past their outrage and horror leaving the affair to afterthoughts about national security and the terribleness of “those people”? It’s Tuesday and the shooter’s wife has said she had knowledge prior to it and tried to dissuade her husband from committing terror. Rather than report his intentions, she rode along with him to the nightclub, one presumes for reconnaissance; perhaps it is then and other such trips she tried to talk him out of it. It is now evident that the shooter had been a regular at the club and others of its kind leaving one to reconsider his motives: Did the loathing of those he deemed ungodly include himself for his own urges or secreted behavior?

    If history tells us anything, it’s unreasonable and spiritually injurious to imagine humanity’s ability to socially evolve—to live peacefully with tolerance, compassion, intelligence and without malice toward one another. It is sadly more profitable to think otherwise. But, we must hope that Reason will prevail somehow, sometime. I believe that beneath the conflict of our day is an undercurrent of reasonable things and I am encouraged by such movement. Conversely, with each tragic event our society grows evermore anesthetized to them, fueling doubt in the chance for true advancement. We have yet to reach that grand tipping point but after two millennia we could be on the brink of it. Will we see a harmonious world in our time? Will Reason find the pace of technological evolution? Who knows but there’s enough here for hope, just enough to ease the troubled mind.

    Today, Tuesday, there is no joy still for reasonable people because of these hateful acts or the innumerable others preceding it and those surely to come, but we must have faith that we will ultimately achieve common ground. Our duty to the lives being lost is to inch progress along through introspection, thoughtful discourse and the practice of peace whether or not we find it in our midst or we see it on our horizon. These are the things within our reach. Trying to control things that we cannot is like trying to control the wind; the reasonable thing—the evolutionary thing—is to fashion wings on which to surpass these trying times.

    • She was with him? I had missed that. My reqction to her knowledge of what he was about to do was similar to yours. Why didn’t she call the police?

      As always, perfectly stated. I don’t anticipate Wednesday will be much brighter.

  3. No, I don’t know if she was there at the time of the murders, or just preceding them, only that she had reportedly gone along prior to the event, perhaps more than once, presumably for reconnaissance purposes. Maybe she was simply dropping him off in his efforts to become a “regular” patron at these clubs. Safe to say he saw men kissing more than once (which his father claimed was what sent his son down this path. Hmm…) These parts are speculative. Didn’t mean to imply that she was present during the murders.

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