We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans we are united in grief, in outrage and in resolve to defend our people. President Obama, 6/12/16
Following the massacre at Pulse in Orlando, we’re left with trying to understand our various emotions. Below is a sampling of responses from this week that meant something to me.
UNITED IN GRIEF
From Brad Waters, Psychology Today: “My heart is heavy and my mind is telling me it’s time to be sad, but my eyes aren’t shedding tears. Maybe they’ve finally run dry after decades of hate and violence aimed at the LGBTQ community. Did you know that more than 30 transgender individuals have been murdered in America over the past 18 months?”
In another Psychology Today post Miki Kashtan, PhD, author and co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication, wonders, What does love look like in the wake of violence I cannot grasp?
Her main conclusions, as excerpted from the article:
- It is love, for me, to explicitly say that the killing in Orlando wasn’t actually the largest mass shooting in US history, no matter how often this message is repeated. Why? Because it’s an invitation to remember people who, at the time of their mass killing by the hundreds, were considered other, and to have their lives count, at least now: the 400 Tolowa Indians in Yontoket in 1853 and the 300 Black people in Tulsa in 1921, as just two examples.
- It is love, for me, to note to myself that this recent carnage brought together in a terrible tragedy three groups of people all of whom are made other, all of whom are targets of violence, violence which often goes unnoticed: LGBT, people of color, and Muslims…
- It is love, for me, to remember that Omar Mateen’s parents lost their son twice over, in his death and in discovering he was not the son they had wanted him to be and thought him to be…
- It is love, for me, to applaud Obama for withstanding the taunting coming from Trump, and persisting in saying: “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.” It is also love, for me, to go further and to call into question that idea of being “at war;” to recognize war as part of the problem, not part of the solution…
- It is love, for me, in particular, to recognize and honor the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, for issuing a public in which they said: “This tragedy cannot be neatly categorized as a fight between the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community. As LGBTQ Muslims, we know that there are many of us who are living at the intersections of LGBTQ identities and Islam. At moments like this, we are doubly affected…We reject attempts to perpetuate hatred against our LGBTQ communities as well as our Muslim communities…We ask all Americans to resist the forces of division and hatred, and to stand against homophobia as well as against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.”
LOVE AND ANGER
Later the day of the June 12th massacre the Tony Awards aired on TV. A brief but moving acceptance speech by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame:
THE STRONG URGE TO UNITE
One beautiful piece of art to already emerge is “Pulse” by out songwriters Eli Lieb and Brandon Skeie. Sample lyrics: I shouldn’t have to leave where I stand/I shouldn’t have to change who I am to count as a human/Feel my pulse with your hand on my heart.
OUTRAGE COMBINED WITH HEARTFELT CALLS TO ACTION
“Love your family, love the families and the victims and the people of Orlando, but remember that love is a verb and to love means to do something,” concluded Stephen Colbert on his late-night show.
In addition, the courageous, intelligent, and funny host of TBS’s Full Frontal, Samantha Bee, certainly didn’t hold back:
And, finally, united in grief, the Democrats’ firearms filibuster!
(BTW, I’ll be seeing you after a brief hiatus—here’s hoping the world feels at least a little bit safer by then.)