So Orlando. And the murders of 49 gay and lesbian people at club Pulse.
I find myself reading and re-reading, watching and re-watching the same news messages over and over again trying to find the answers, you know? Like if I keep watching someone will finally say the THING that will make all of this senseless death okay. It will make it make sense.
We can smile again without sadness and move forward.
It’s all going to be okay.
But no one says anything that makes me feel okay.
I was talking with my husband (Little Pumpkin Pie) this morning about all of it. And as I talked through all of what I had seen and read from news, from police and then yesterday from the victims – something struck me.
They didn’t fight back.
As they were being shot, terrified, attacked – they didn’t fight back. They ran. They hid. They huddled together.
But no one fought back.
I read accounts yesterday that detailed how the shooter had time to reload. That the victims could hear the magazine fall to the floor as a new one was put in. The shooter had plenty of time to walk around the club as he reloaded.
And no one mobilized. No one got a group together to storm him at once.
No one threw chairs or glass bottles.
They ran. They hid. They held each other.
Because they’re used to this. They are used to being persecuted. They are used to being bullied. They are used to all religions reminding them that they are less important to GOD of all things. They are used to political battles where their decisions to marry are debated – totally out of their control. They are used to not being able to give blood. They are USED TO THIS. I understand that he had a gun, that they were surprised, probably a little tipsy and that they were scared and in shock. Obviously, that’s not a time when one can think clearly to organize a full on shooter retaliation effort.
HOWEVER. Think about it. Think about this group in general. A gentle, colorful group of people who live in an unwelcoming, intolerant world. They still have to live their lives amongst their haters. They still find love – whether they can get married or not. They are used to this kind of aggression and hatred.
So they don’t even think to fight back. It never turns out okay when they do.
I remember once a dear gay friend of mine was sharing a story with me of how he met Tennessee’s Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. She is known for being against gay rights. I CANNOT STAND HER. My friend said he met her and he was nice to her. They had a conversation. It was lovely.
I was appalled.
WHY?? I asked him. He said because that’s just what he did. He's a nice person and so he wasn't going to change that because of her beliefs. My friend was nice to a woman who’s been out to get him and everything he stands for.
I have other gay buddies who have friends who openly disagree with who they are. And they are still friends.
And then there are the families of my gay friends. Some who openly condemn them as human beings. Do you argue with them? I ask. Do you tell them they are wrong?? No, I hear regularly. My family is who they are and I can’t change that.
No no no no no no no no no. I can’t hear that. NO. Really though, what the hell do I know about it? I don’t truly understand what it’s like to be them. I never will. They need peace and happiness and they are used to others making that difficult for them.
I’m sure in hindsight many victims are wishing they’d handled things differently. I am sure they are re-living the nightmare that was that night. “What if I’d just …” “If I’d only…”
There is nothing to say to that except this is what it is. A peaceful group of people confronted with violence did what they knew to do in the face of horror. I applaud the bravery of every single soul and wish only for them to someday feel safe again, no matter what club they go to, what person they choose to love and what decisions they make.
And maybe, just maybe my amazing gay bros and sis' - you'll know that you are worth fighting for.