Monday, June 13, 2016

Thoughts on A Horrible Day

He didn't like seeing two men kissing in Miami, so he shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando full of young LGBTQ+ people, many of color.

That's the boiled down version of why the worst shooting massacre in United States history occurred early Sunday morning at last call at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. At the end of the shooting spree, there were  fifty dead including the shooter, and at least that many or more injured and needing to go to the hospital.

It was a devastating story to encounter first thing in the morning on Facebook. And I have been crying on and off all day.

The Mickee Faust Club, one of those supposed "safe places" for queer people to gather, is in the process of pulling together our cabaret to celebrate Gay Pride month. But instead of doing our tech rehearsal, we joined with others at a local downtown lake to mourn and march and sing. Monday night's run through was also postponed so that we could gather at the state Capitol to rededicate ourselves to living in love without fear.

I have purposely stayed away from a lot of media today. I did hear that supposedly the shooter has a connection to the terrorist organization ISIS, and even though the FBI knew that, he was able to purchase an AR-15, the same weapon used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut and the San Bernadino Office Party shooting last Christmas.

This led me to post the following status on Facebook:

A shooting at a Luby's in Texas? Nothing. A shooting at a McDonald's in Southern California? Nothing. A shooting at a high school in Colorado? Nothing. A shooting at a public event with a Congresswoman in Arizona? Nothing. A shooting in a movie theater in Colorado (and Louisiana)? Nothing.A shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut? Nothing. A shooting at a university in Virginia? Nothing. A shooting at the DC Navy Yard? Nothing. A shooting at Fort Hood in Texas? Nothing. A shooting at a military recruitment center in Tennessee? Nothing. A shooting at a Bible Study in South Carolina? Nothing. Regular shootings daily in Chicago? Nothing. A shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando? _________. Do NOT tell me this isn't a public health problem! And do not come here to tell me why you love your guns. Seriously, not today!

Of course, some people want to argue with me that this isn't about the guns; it's about the people. But I'm sorry. If there is one thing I have come to learn in 48 years of living on this planet, it's that the human heart has both the impulse for good and the impulse for evil. It lives in each of us, whether we profess a belief in God or not. If you feed the heart with Love and beauty and seek what is life-affirming, then the goodness will grow. However, if you take a regular bath in hatred and anger and greed, then you are feeding the evil part of yourself at the detriment to the good. Give that person a gun and....

This is why I really didn't want to hear what Florida Republican Senator, and a vocal opponent of the gay community, Marco Rubio had to say, or watch him shake his head in disbelief. I didn't seek out Governor Rick Scott who treats us like pesky flies, or the truly repugnant Republican AG Pam Bondi who actively fought our right to marry, and still cannot understand that blocking marriage equality was UNconstitutional. While I don't pray for the death of any of these folks, I do acknowledge that they are my enemies, just like the shooter in Orlando was my enemy. And their words and actions have helped to foster and grow an intolerance and nonacceptance of us that fuels idiotic bathroom debates, and mass shootings at gay nightclubs.

I do hope that maybe this time this will lead to really introducing a bill in Congress to get this mass shooting public health problem solved. The medicine is within our reach. We just need our elected leadership to stop looking over their shoulder at what the National Rifle Association may or may not do to them. A tall order, but I expect and demand bravery.

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