I Don’t Know About You…

Pray for Orlando

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a horrific tragedy, like what took place this weekend in Orlando…my city, takes place it’s hard for me to collect my thoughts. If my thoughts could be seen they’d look like this…

ANGER

SADNESS

PRAYER

WHY GOD

back to ANGER

a little more SADNESS

And when I sit down to speak about it or write about it, I feel fractured between wanting to find assurance that the world is a way more beautiful place than it feels and not really believing that it is. Fractured between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. Fractured between thanking God for my life and asking Him why things like this happen at all. Fractured between knowing that my everyday life is waiting and wanting to become some sort of vigilante assassin the likes of Elektra or Black Widow.

Lord knows I’m not alone. Take a look at social media right now and see that people are fractured. Spirits are torn apart. And yes, it’s beautiful to see my city come together and rally around the victims and their families. It’s amazing to see the blood banks so full of donors that they had to turn people away. That is an encouraging sight that we cannot forget!! But we also cannot ignore the bigger community of humans that continues to be divided when horrible things happen. Half the country says “get rid of guns,” the other half clings tightly to their weapons. And who is right?

Can we all agree that humans aren’t the only common element in these tragedies. Can we start to talk about other countries that don’t have the staggering statistics of gun violence that plague the whole of America? Can we start holding the human(s) responsible…responsible, not the community that human is a part of, not the religion that human is a part of, not the sexual preference that human identifies with?

I am not the white, American that killed Christina Grimmie on Friday.

And neither are you the statistic that groups you to a killer. If you take up semi-automatic weapons or any other kind of weapon and shoot up a bar of happy people celebrating life…then you are that KILLER. It’s that simple. It should be.

But it isn’t. Why the hell isn’t it!!!??

There’s the bigger issue at work here. The issue of people vs people. Forget the fact that an Islamic extremist shot up an LGBT club. Forget the fact that a white man with 2 guns killed a singer the very night before. Forget the fact that a South Korean shot up a college campus or that a privileged, white, Stanford student raped a girl and is getting off with light sentencing. Forget all that for a moment. Only for a moment because we have a human problem.

Until humans value the lives of other humans above their race, religion, sexual preference, gender orientation, occupation or anything else that divides us as simple human beings, then the blood shed will not stop. 

I read someone who was arguing that if we make gun laws stricter, then we have to take away people’s cars because car accidents cause more deaths than shootings. I think they’ve missed the point. It’s easy to miss the point if you’re looking for reasons to miss the point! The operative word here is accident. Car accidents are horrible and tragic and sad and i wish they never happened to anyone, ever. The difference is that shootings like what happened at Pulse on Saturday night are no accident. No one “accidentally” purchases an AR-15 and then “accidentally” calls the police to “accidentally” align themselves with a terrorist organization and then “accidentally” shoots 50 people dead and wounds 50+ more. Nope…not an accident!

The people who are spreading hatred towards Muslims for being killers and towards the LGBT community for deserving death for “sinful lifestyles” and towards white men for being rapists and black men for being thugs are hardly better than the killers themselves. The lack of respect for human life doesn’t begin when a gun is purchased. It doesn’t begin when the trigger is pulled. The lack of respect for human life begins long before that. It’s in the words we say to one other. It’s in the way we handle conflict. It’s in the way we choose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. And it’s in the way we respond in the aftermath.

How will you respond?

I implore you…do more. Even if it’s as simple as trying to change your own damn mind about something. Even if it’s simply seeing another person’s point of view, stepping in their shoes, trying to understand instead of sticking your feet in the mud and holding your ground come hell or high water.

“The time is always right to do what is right!” You know who said that? Martin Luther King, Jr. You know how he died? From a gun shot. Do you think that would have changed the message of his life of non-violence? Would he have bought a gun if he knew he’d die from one?

I would never suggest you lose your right to bear arms. It is Constitutional. I’m simply saying there’s something missing in the Constitution. The right to live. Is that not more important? Is that not something we can agree upon? I’m scared that the answer is no. And that is not encouraging at all.

I don’t want to end on a note of sadness. I like to keep it upbeat. But I don’t think I have it in me to turn this one around. So I’ll simply end by saying that I love you.

What color are you? I DON’T CARE.

What do you believe? I DON’T CARE!

Where do you come from? I DON’T CARE!!

Who do you love? I DON’T CARE!!!

I believe in you. I think your life is worth living. I just love you!

No More!

I don’t usually comment on current events. I prefer fictional events, usually concerning dragons or spaceships or magical realms.

But these school shootings…they have to stop! Enough is enough! How is this still happening? How do we live in a “free” world in the 21st century, yet we’re shackled with issues like the death of our children? I don’t know the solution. I wish I did. (I feel like Captain Picard could work this out in his sleep.)

Here’s what I know…I know I’m tired of press conferences about gun control and mental health. Because we’ve gotten really good at talking about it. Yet here we are 16 years after Columbine and we are still just talking. We live in a nation divided. The “free” world is littered with semi-automatic weapons, internet bullies and dead kids.

You can’t trust the media because everyone has an agenda. And one wrong step on social media and you can almost hear the hate mail flooding in.

But amidst all that shit, I think we can all agree…Republicans and Democrats, homosexuals and heterosexuals, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, men and women…we don’t want to hear the names of any more dead children.

News outlets bring experts on to talk about what we “could have” done to prevent this. In 3 months they’ll be back to tell it to us again, so what’s the point.
We have failed this country if in 3 months we are still just talking.

I went to see The Martian this weekend and it was a beautiful movie. But it made me sad, because it looked like a fantasy world. And there weren’t any dragons or Hobbits or Wookies or wands. But it didn’t feel real. Not the man on Mars part, but the hopeful, helpful Nation waiting on the Earth below.

We live in a broken, scary, partisan world. A nation divided. A world divided. And I don’t have the answers. This blog isn’t about the answers. I’m not nearly smart enough to have the answers. But I can ask questions. And maybe we’ve been asking the wrong ones.

I read an article the other day that really asked a lot of the right ones. (Read it here.) Even that writer doesn’t have all the answers, but hey, it’s a start!
If The Martian taught me anything, it’s that there are many people out there who are much smarter than me. But what I have is hope. I believe in a better future. I believe we can still change things. I believe that celebrities aren’t the only people who can use their voice to make a difference and that politicians don’t all have to be slime balls (though I’m still waiting on confirmation.)

So let’s stop listening for the next announcement that someone has lost their cool and gone on a killing spree. Let’s start using our God-given brains. What do we need to ask? What do we need to do?

The first question I might ask you is – do you want to wake up to another school shooting? Do you want to see this happen time after time? Do you want killers to be immortalized and victims to be forgotten? We know the names of the shooters and the bombers, but can you name the victims? Seems to me a young troubled teenager, looking for a place in this world, with demons too loud to fight might just think taking up a gun is the only way to be heard. After all, that’s how Harris and Klebold and Lanza and Cho and Harper-Mercer were heard. They may have died, but I sorta think they got what they wanted. A media circus dedicated to them.

I think of my baby nephew who was born days ago. He knows nothing of right or wrong. He doesn’t know the hateful things people do to each other. He is a blank slate. He is a clean slate. He is the hope that tomorrow won’t be hell on Earth. And I’m terrified for him. It’s not just colleges and high schools anymore. Sandy Hook taught us a whole new meaning of the word fear.

So let’s start asking questions. Questions about why anyone would need a semi-automatic weapon…period! Questions about why the gun show loophole is still in effect to this day. Questions about why politicians can’t get out of each other’s way and walk across party lines to shake hands and understand that this is not a world we want to be apart of. And that every day people like you and me will no longer stand for press conferences and expert opinions about troubled killers who are allowed to do these things. I don’t want opinions…I want solutions.
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*Photo Courtesy of My So Called Crafty Life