Unless you’ve been perched beneath a rock for the entirety of the weekend, you know some horrible things happened in Florida this weekend. In Orlando, of all places, a rock’s throw from The Happiest Place On Earth and The Most Magical Place For Muggles.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say, the magic seems to be gone now. The happiness, too.
I’m not here to get political. You know me and you know that’s not my style.
What I am here to do, is to, hopefully, spread some of the thing that have been taken from us.
We lost forty-nine people this weekend in one single swoop. Fifty-three were seriously injured. A popular singer was also gunned down in an unrelated event in the same exact city. Right now, it’s okay to feel pretty heartbroken. It’s okay to cry and scream and berate the killers–of whom I wish we’d stop naming, because they DON’T DESERVE THE RECOGNITION. I can’t say that enough. STOP NAMING THE KILLERS. STOP IMMORTALIZING TERRORISTS. STOP IT. If you have any hope for a safe country, stop naming these people who commit terrible acts. They are unstable, enraged, and one of the main motivators for unchecked violence like this is sensationalism from the media. PLEASE STOP SAYING THEIR NAMES.
That being said, I want to talk a little bit about what terror is. We can blame religion. We can blame mental illness. This is not what terror is. Terror is not a cause and effect, but a disease that has manifested itself into the new world war. It’s isolated. It’s random. It’s everything war is not, and yet, this seems to be the new war.
And it’s easy, if you let it, to let the fear in. When we scramble to make phone calls to see if loved ones are alright. When we read every article and watch every news clip. When we break down and cry because forty-nine people are dead. And twenty-seven. And thirty-two. And sixteen. And so on and so forth. And it’s so easy to feel afraid. It’s so easy to feel wretched about the state of the world. To let fear overwhelm you to the point that no place is safe and no one is trustworthy.
This is terrorism. This is what acts of terror do.
They take from us what is most important–the thing we didn’t even realize was sacred until it’s gone.
What is wrong with the world? What’s happening to our country? What is wrong with people? How can this happen? What do we do now?
These are all valid questions that we say in the wake of tragedy, when we are aching from hurt and fear and grasping for any sort of reason. And the reason never comes. There is never a justifiable cause because there is never, never a justifiable cause for taking lives. Whether we admit it or not, we are all connected. We all exchange oxygen and water and clothes and ideas. We all contribute through acts, through jobs, through traffic, through life, to the great web of humanity that we live in. There is not a single soul on this earth who is not important in some way.
And any time something like this happens–and yes, I have to use the open-ended any because this is not the first time–there leaves a hole. And it hurts, and I’m hurting, and you’re hurting, and we are hurting because a part of us is gone. And maybe we don’t even know which part. Maybe it’s a hand or a leg or an ear or a lung, but we feel it and it hurts. It leaves us stunted; less.
We ache for people we may or may not have met. We ache for their families. We ache for us, as a whole, as a people. There are no boundary lines in tragedy. There are no gaps in social standing. It’s tragic and it happened and we hurt together.
But in that hurting, when tears mix with anger, when blame wants to leave our lips, in those feelings of terror and tragedy, when we are trying to heal from wounds that never close, we cannot let terrorism win. We cannot let it break us. We have to heal like scars heal–stronger and tougher than before. And we have to be better. Love each other. Help each other. Refuse to let lines and differences separate us. We are a beautiful country because no one is the same. Because we do not lose hope. Because we do not embrace fear.