Reflections

Intermission #4: Heart, Broken

PT 1001 2

I kept telling myself all day that I wasn’t going to write about the shooting.

It’s not that I didn’t care or I didn’t have anything to say, far from it. But I knew that if I entered the digital discussion, I would inevitably run into conservative whack-jobs who have no grasp on reality, filled with hate. They are legion, these non-evolved cretins who apparently have nothing better to do than sit at their damp keyboards, wet with the rot from their decomposing minds, seizing on any and every opportunity to maniacally rub salt in the fresh wounds of innocent victims.

I just didn’t have the stomach for it, not today, not when I needed to grieve and process. Every one of these incessant, needless mass shootings affects me, tears at me, baffles me with the incomprehensible concept that a supposedly modern country is unable to enact decent, logical gun-control legislation. But today was especially hard, with the target being my people, the gay community. We have been the focus of hatred, of disavowal, of unhesitating demonization by a political party that will happily destroy the lives of fellow Americans if it means they gain another seat in the Senate.

Yes, I was full of words, on this awful day, that needed to be released. But I initially kept my mouth shut, containing my anger, because one does grow tired after so many years of trying to speak the truth, speak of justice, speak of humanity, only to be confronted by people who have long since lost their humanity, if they ever had it at all.

As the day progressed, however, things changed.

The alerts began buzzing into my phone in the early morning hours. Something terrible was happening in Orlando. In my quasi-coherent state, drifting in and out of abrupt dreams, it all seemed somewhat surreal. Was I imagining this or was it really happening? As dawn broke and the nocturnal cobwebs cleared, it became all too real. Slaughter, persecution, madness.

My partner and I, upon rising, did not immediately turn on the TV. It was a place we did not want to go, not again. But eventually we did, at least for a few hours. Before too long, my mindset went from “We really need to see what’s going on” to “I can’t take this anymore. Let’s do something, anything else.”

We decided to watch some programs we had recorded on the DVR, random things that one or both of us thought might be interesting. The first selection was “All The Way”, the HBO movie concerning President Lyndon Johnson’s efforts to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964. (On an unrelated note, Bryan Cranston as LBJ is a magnificent piece of acting.) On a related note, the depiction of America, just a few decades ago, with the astonishing lack of regard for the rights of minorities by some segments of both political parties, is mind-numbing.

After that sobering review, we then watched the first episode of the recent reboot of Alex Hailey’s “Roots”. There’s no reason for me to even go into the details of this story, other than to say that America’s history is stained with violent injustice. (And don’t even come at me with “other countries were doing the same”. It doesn’t make it right. Nothing makes it right. The history of mankind is packed with so many instances where “man” was nowhere near “kind”.)

Suffice it to say that this Bloody Sunday was sobering in so many ways, however coincidentally, and that I did not relax, I did not feel good, and my soul was abraded with the despicable things that we do to one another.

Still, I avoided making my own commentary. Until I finally signed in and began reviewing my social media. All of the things that I expected to piss me off did, but there were three things in particular that made it imperative that I say something, because to avoid doing so would make me complacent, make me unworthy, make me no better than the people who bitch and whine and hate without any regard for the dignity and value of others.

I realize that, at least within the confines of this blog, I am preaching to the choir, for the most part. While this is not an overtly political blog, I don’t hesitate to make my stance known, and any readers who are deeply offended by my musings most likely stopped being readers some time ago. Still, I don’t want to belabor the points until numbness seeps in, like the news broadcasts that droned for hours earlier today until it was all too much.

To Donald Trump, who took to Twitter with boastful tweets, bragging “I told you so” and proclaiming that he had “won” the discussion: This is not a competition, you arrogant, heartless twat. There was no victory, and everyone lost. (Runner up in this category goes to Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who tweeted the Bible quote concerning “you reap what you sow”, blaming the victims in Orlando. The soulless tweet was soon deleted after an intense backlash, but the stench remains.)

To the people posting on social media, whose first thoughts were not “this is terrible” or “my heart goes out” but instead went directly to “I’ll be damned if Obama takes my guns over this” or “nothing would have happened if everybody was packing a gun”: There is something fundamentally wrong with your compassion and your priorities.

To the news organizations who have been flashing images of the shooter throughout the day, repeatedly and incessantly: Stop it. You are inadvertently glorifying a man who deserves no glory, creating a dark celebrity who will inspire other sociopaths out there to dream of achieving the same twisted fame.

Thank you for reading this far, if you have done so. I don’t like typing this, I don’t like being in this frame of mind, and I wish that this post wasn’t even necessary. But it is, and I had to go there. I cannot be ambivalent, succumbing to the growing apathy and indifference in our country that has resulted in a presidential candidate who preaches bigotry and hate from his money pulpit while innocent people die in a nightclub.

We all have a responsibility in this situation, a moral obligation to do what we reasonably can to alter the potential course of our society. Research the truth, have discussions, join an organization if you have the time and inclination, refuse to suffer fools, and get your ass in line every time that voting booth is open.

Don’t be silent. Don’t be idle. And do more than pray, folks. Do more than just pray.

Peace.

 

53 replies »

  1. The first paragraphs really nailed it.
    America for all its facade of modernity and cool, has a horrible heart that it doesnt like to look at, whether it is now or hundreds of years ago.
    And the sickening thing is when I sww the news flash, being an outsider, I wasnt shocked for a second. Mass shootings go with America like hamburger and fries. What a tragedy. And i bet there are sick pos who thought oh well, it happened to gay people, no biggie.
    All the NRA gun toting morons need to wake up and realise this isnt the 1800’s and Billy the Kid is dead. Hell, there arent even any Native Americans to kill in person, they’ve all been slowly killed through their reservations one way or another.
    To think Trump even stands a chance and you have somewhat of an answer as to why the US is really fucked up. Until it gets rid of the us vs them psyche I doubt much will change which is saddening and maddening.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It really is a completely surreal experience in America right now, with so many delusional conservatives roaming the streets and the Internet and the voting booths, like a pack of wild feral dogs sniffing out and tearing at anything that isn’t just like them, completely unaware (and more importantly, unwilling) to accept the fact that their extreme hatred is what’s tearing this country apart, not the people they demonize and sacrifice….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been trying to come up with a piece on Orlando, and you just created one better than anything I had in mind, displaying more genuine human emotion than I am usually comfortable letting into my own writing. With your permission, I’d like to re-blog this to Spark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sweetheart — I know that I cannot say that I know exactly how you feel. No one can truly feel another’s pain. But I cry — my heart aches. I have so much trouble understanding how it seems like the community takes two steps forward, but they seem to be followed by some kind of horrible push back. Please just take a few minutes and look over my timeline, and know that I am thinking about you — about Ann of you. A vital piece of the puzzle that makes all is us into one. Love to you and Terry, dear…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sandra. I miss talking to you since I bailed from Facebook. I could no longer take that environment, it just became far too toxic and mean-spirited. (Not you, of course. You were one of the few beacons that made me smile). I’m having a much more enjoyable time over here on WordPress and a few other sites that seem to focus on community instead of disunity…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re absolutely right, Brian, more than prayer is needed. On my part, I experience the microaggressions of narrowminded people on nearly a daily basis. They are immersed in their own worlds and cannot accept that they might need to adjust their position on things.

    They do not realise that as a society, we have evolved (for better or worse) because we have learned to abandon bad ideas an adopt better ones. I shook my head early Monday morning (that’s when the news broke for me) when I thought about the tiny battles I’d been fighting up to that point with people who lack a perspective on what really matters in life. They march for gay rights, talk about freedom from political oppression, champion women’s rights and speak out against domestic violence. However, a kind word to a neighbour or colleague to show appreciation for support? No, can’t afford it.

    This disconnect between what small things we do every day to breed that monster stands out for me. Yesterday was yet another opportunity for me to set the bar higher for myself. I took it to remind myself that no matter what, there are things I will never tolerate. Disregard of my ideas and opinions; lack of consideration for my time and energy. These are two items at the very top of my list. The first person through the gate on Monday morning hit that wall, full force.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I completely agree with you, especially on that last angle. There are many people out there who initially give off an image of decency, fighting for a specific, just cause, and making admirable, incremental progress. But these same people won’t give the time of day to people who don’t figure in to their agenda, making those people sadly similar to the idiots who are fighting for their right to discriminate. The evolution of mankind requires the uplift and inclusive respect for all decent human beings. If you become exclusionary, whether it involves a grand gesture or the modest ordering of a cocktail at a bistro or a conversation at a bus station, you are missing the point of what we should be as a human race…

      Liked by 3 people

      • Exactly, Brian. We crawled out of the soup together and differentiated because it’s supposed to be fun that way. People embrace diversity and difference when ordering beverages at Starbucks. Why don’t people fight others over the choice of a grande macchiato vs a tall mocha latte? Wait… I have had friends clucking at my right to do even that. That’s why we’re here talking about this.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Spark! and commented:
    Brian Lageose of Bonnywood Manor responds with genuine emotion to the tragedy and horror of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, proving that a humor blog can also, when necessary, write about mourning and about the horrors that surround us. Visit Bonnywood Manor, and read on:

    Liked by 2 people

  6. In the sixties there was a saying, “If you aren’t part of the solution then you are a part of the problem.” I think everyone needs to take a stand for gun control but also to not forget about it tomorrow.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Hugs for your anger and pain. I am at a loss for words, cannot fathom how any person can do these things. We had a mass shooting here, in a very small part of our state (Port Arthur), that triggered a countrywide change in gun laws. I cannot say what effect this has had overall, people still get shot individually, but hopefully it makes it harder for a repeat of such.
    Once again, hugs for you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Brian. None of us like being in this state of mind. Remember the Charlie Hebdo murders and we were all Charlie? Well–we are ALL the Gay Community right now and it hurts all of us. The exception being the hateful and bigoted fake Jesus freak fundies, the conservatives et al. I also find it disturbing that certain political figures are using this incident to instill fear and yet, I find it even more horrific that the news media uses this as another ratings blast. Give the murdered the dignity they so very much deserve. The media has no right to exploit them by speaking to the victims’ friends and family in such a condescending way. It really is vile.
    This will fade–just as Columbine, and Sandy Hook and other mass shootings will fade.
    Action needs to be taken. We cannot pussy foot and be politically correct with this shit. Guns kill! I KNOW this. My dad was a NYC police officer who HATED guns and his weapons were a great sense of humor, diplomacy and empathy. Where have those values gone?
    And as long as the politicians in this country are sleeping with the NRA and as long as these politicians are elected by ignorant, low-life, uneducated, toothless, beer guzzling, bigoted, hateful ‘Merins, we will continue to see our society becoming worse.
    I gotta step off my platform now because I’m getting really upset. …XOXOXO!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you for enduring the pain and rage and writing this.It is powerful and strong and I hope it holds some release and healing for you. There are allies out here as well as idiots like Trump…we need to stand together, stand strong, push and keep pushing, and never let the lunatics get you down…it’s a fight worth fighting, and we will win it. Jo

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks so much for writing this post. You may be preaching to the choir, but we need to hear the words, at least in part to know we are not alone. This is a crazy, demoralizing time for our country. I’m hoping the 15 hour gun control filibuster that happened yesterday heralds at least a spark of change.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Very well-said. I agree 10,000%

    “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”

    Fact. I do my damnedest, every day, to be part of the solution…no matter how small the effort might be.

    So sick and tired of hate…so done with it.

    Awesome, excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. These mass killings always trigger the same response. The politicians have their moment of silence and the gun fanatics talk the big talk about how guns don’t kill people, people kill people. There are always people with love and compassion who reach out to comfort the community involved. We do Facebook posts about how we #standwithparis, or Sandy Hook, or Orlando. The one thing we don’t do is work our asses off to elect politicians who aren’t beholden to the NRA. This is our battle. This is our homegrown war. And we do little, if nothing. There are certain days I am not proud to be an American……and the morning after the Orlando slaughter was one of them.

    If we didn’t do anything after Sandy Hook, if we didn’t do anything after 20 beautiful little five-year-olds were massacred, then we had lost our way. I haven’t lost complete hope because I do believe that the tide is changing and I also believe that the gay community is a force to be reckoned with and if they turn their sights on gun control then we finally might get some common sense laws in place. I believe. I have to believe. I don’t want to live in a world where this is our new normal and we accept that these mass killings will continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree. When the Sandy Hook massacre first happened, my initial thought was “it’s all going to change now, there is no way that our society can put up with that”. But then nothing changed, with the NRA and their elected minions riding roughshod over every notion of common decency. A big chunk of the blame for our current situation can be directed at the Supreme Court’s horrendous decision in “Citizens United”, allowing Big Money to decimate the democratic process, but the fundamental issue is the apathy of the American public. I firmly believe that MOST citizens in this country are appalled by the efforts of the Far Right to create a cultural war, but until we can get those decent folks to get off their asses and actually vote, we have a long road ahead of us. And yes, the gay community has a voice. We’ve managed to get most of our fundamental rights. It’s time to give back…

      Liked by 3 people

  13. This is one of the most complete and heartfelt summations of that horrible day that I have read. I’m so sick of “thoughts and prayers” – we need common sense and votes.
    (Your writing is genius, by the way.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, LC. I wish more people would realize what we should be doing. And as for YOUR writing, I finally quit randomly clicking on things to read and just started at the very beginning of your blogging journey. It’s been a swell time so far… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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