Some days the madness in this world takes my breath away. And some days it simply breaks my heart. After the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, to say that my heart is broken feels like an understatement. But more than sadness, there is anger – and an almost desperate need to take action. To create change. To promote healing.
But I’ve struggled with what to say or if I should say anything at all. There’s too much and anything that I have to say is not enough.
Do I focus on drawing attention to the victims? Young men and women gunned down, many of whom were just at the beginning of their lives. What could they have accomplished? What have we missed out on because they were taken from us too soon? Take a moment to listen to the names of those who were senselessly murdered. (Anderson Cooper, CNN.)
Should I talk about the attack on the LGBT community? A community that I feel so personally connected to and yet I sometimes forget how dangerous it is for my friends and loved ones. I forget how brave you have to be, even in 2016, to be out, to be proud and to still choose love in the face of hate. (Kevin Chorlins, Facebook post)
Is now the time to remind everyone that your words matter? Every time you marginalize the LGBT community, you feed the hate. Every time you sneer at affection between same sex couples. Every time you insist that the Bible tells you that someone else’s love in invalid. Every time you use the words faggot or dyke. Every time you equate homosexuals or transgender individuals with pedophiles and sexual predators. Maybe you are just joking. Maybe you are just uncomfortable. Maybe you think you are doing the right thing. You wouldn’t pick up a gun and shoot someone you don’t understand, so why are your words important? Your words are seeds that get planted in the fertile soil of someone looking for a reason to hate and to act on it. Choose them carefully.
Do I get angry and lash out at those who insist on placing blame? Was religion a factor? Was the shooter a IS sympathizer? Is right-wing Christianity as much to blame for the persecution of the LGBT community? Was the gunman mentally ill? Does any of that even fucking matter? Call it terrorism. Call it a hate crime. It is both. Blame society, but we are all “society” and if we aren’t working to be a part of the solution, then we are, indeed, a part of the problem.
Is it too soon to pull out the soapbox and talk about gun control? I see the Facebook posts about how President Obama (the Democrats, the Liberals…whoever) want to take away the guns from law abiding citizens as a reaction to this violence. That is complete bullshit and perpetuating that myth keeps us from making any real progress. There’s a real debate to be had about reasonable gun control and how we protect the second amendment, but we can’t have it until the lies coming from special interest groups are taken out of the discourse. (PBS Newshour, President Barack Obama to gun owners.)
Can I bring myself to put all of the negative aside and ask you to choose love? Is it naive to have hope, even now, that that world can change for the better? Now, more than ever, we need to remember that “hope and love last longer”. (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tonys acceptance sonnet)