Why, you ask? Because my spouse woke me up before 8 a.m. Sunday with the words, “There’s been a shooting in a gay bar in Orlando. Twenty people are dead.” Because the day got worse from there.
I am grieving and I am angry because it turned out there weren’t just 20 people dead. Forty-nine people were murdered inside Pulse nightclub on that early Sunday morning, and at least 53 more injured.
I am pissed off because my wife spends her days worrying about me being at work at the LGBT newspaper, an easy target, along with my coworkers, for some other hate-filled maniac with a gun, or a bomb. She shouldn’t have to be afraid for me to go to work.
I am furious with politicians who send out tweets, hours after the massacre, about “reaping what you sow,” as if those people in that nightclub deserved to die for some reason — because they’re gay, maybe? Or maybe because they were mostly people of color, mostly Latino? And I’m furious with politicians who want to use those deaths to grandstand about how he’s gonna ban people from certain countries and of certain religions from coming to this country — even though, you know, the Orlando killer was an American, born and raised in this country, and the murders may not have had anything to do with religion anyway.
I am fed with people, no matter how well-intentioned, who think stricter gun laws will solve all our problems with violence and keep the crazy assholes who want to kill people from being able to do so. These assholes don’t follow the damn law; stricter laws won’t make them straighten up and act right.
And I am just as fed up with people at the other end of the firearm spectrum who think that if the people in that bar had just been armed themselves, the shooting wouldn’t have happened. Please! Say the people who have been dancing all night and drinking all night and having a good time all have their 9-mils tucked in their waistbands and nestled in their ankle holsters or wherever. Crazy asshole walks in with a semi-automatic assault rifle and starts mowing people down, if anyone managed to pull their gun to get a shot off before being shot themselves, whose to say they’d even shoot back at the right person.
Sure, I guess they could all be carrying their own semi-automatic assault rifles. Now THAT would be a pretty scene when the shooting stopped, wouldn’t it?! Think about it. Remember a couple months back when the Good Samaritan pulled his gun on the guy who’d just shot his wife in the leg in that store in Arlington? Good Samaritan had his license to carry; had his gun; knew what he was doing. Good Samaritan was killed.
Yes, we need better gun laws. Smarter gun laws. But no, we don’t need laws that take all the guns away from all the people. Surely there is a reasonable middle ground solution, but we won’t find it until those on opposite sides of the argument refuse to admit they may not be absolutely right.
I am angry, and I am sad, because so few people are actually talking about the true root problem: hatred and ignorance. I am angry, and I am sad, because so many people want to offer up prayers and a moment of silence and think that’s all they need to do. I believe in God y’all, and I believe in prayer. But sometimes, God’s answer to your prayer is, “Get off your ass and do what needs to be done!” I mean, Jesus already told us how to fix things — you know, “judge not” and “love your neighbor” — and all the praying in the world won’t help if we aren’t willing to help ourselves
I am done y’all. I’ve had it. I’m fed the fresh hell up. And on top of that I am tired. Exhausted — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. And then, I sat down here at my computer and checked my work email. And I got this letter, from some straight white guy whose telling me that he and the other straight white guys are the ones who have been mistreated all these years, and that ‘the Orlando incident’ is just hoax perpetrated by people who want to take away the guns and mistreat all those poor white guys some more. (I’m posting the full text of the letter here so you can read it for yourselves.)
And that was the last straw. I am done. I am pissed off. I am fed the fresh hell up.
So here’s the thing: I can’t just stop being sad, feeling broken. But I am gonna focus a little more on being angry. I am going to continue to grieve, but I am going to let that grief morph into anger. And then I am going to turn the anger into action.
I won’t let my grief and my anger make me hate, and I won’t let it make me afraid. But I won’t be complacent anymore. Something’s gotta change y’all. I’m gonna let the change start with me. Wanna come along?