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.
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?
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