In the wake of every tragedy that has crossed my lifetime, my country's elected leaders have always assured me that there will not be a 'next time.' They tell me that if I pray with them and share silence with them, there will come a change... There has not and there will not.
I spent a lot of today combing through the facts and the conjecture and the heartache and the anger. Much of what I've come to believe - right here and now - is an amalgamation of ideas put forth by wiser folks than I, and I wish only to echo what I have learned. I will credit the proper thinker wherever I am able.
The time for 'silent moments' are over. This is the time for screaming. This is the time to knock on the doors of our elected leaders and demand immediate change. I am disgusted by all the carefully-crafted, political condolences I saw today that avoided using the word 'gun.' One need only look at the Twitter feed of Igor Volsky, the Deputy Director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, to see why. He was doing this all day long, and rightly so-
As writer Mark Harris pointed out, all but ONE Republican senator is fine with selling assault rifles to people on terror watch lists-
If you'd like to see the names of every senator who voted against the 2013 assault weapons ban, JUST CLICK HERE.
Scream, my friends. Be heard. Now and forever. The motivations and religions vary from one massacre to the next, but the lone constant is guns. Think about that for a moment and then read the tweet by Uncle Chaps that I lifted it from-
I read some version of the following sentiment throughout the day, but none were as wounded and angry and honest as Brett White, an editor at CBR-
Brett White will not be silent and I applaud him for it. Rob Whisman will not be silent, either:
This is not a time for tiptoeing and crawling towards progress. People are hurting and will continue to be hurt until we, the many, do something about it. If we wait, we risk having our officials waste the rest of our lives with their heads firmly up their asses-
And that's the second unpardonable sin of today's massacre. We need to make a commitment to changing the language of fear and tolerance and get-over-it-we're-all-humans understanding. It is unconscionable for our elected leaders to simply call the Orlando tragedy an act of terrorism. It was also an act of homophobia, a poison that continues to find refuge within our country. It festers amongst an increasingly volatile, dying minority of our elders and all the turds that they have spawned. We need to let our leaders know that we are the majority, that our ever-expanding population is LGBTQ friendly and we stand ever-impatiently ready to bury those who are not. Adapt or find a hole to lie in - the hate that was evoked today is endangered and condemned for extinction. Period.
Furthering that same point, I give you Exhibit Drumpf-
And if those aforementioned Republicans dare balk - and anyone on either side of the political aisle, really - these two, complimentary tweets should damn any selfish politician with a beating heart to shame:
We need change now. NOW.
If they do not come to the doors when we knock upon them, it is our right to break them down and elect someone moral enough and strong enough to hear our demands. And how do you do that? Start with any of the politicians taking money from the NRA - as detailed above - or the list of senators voting to stop the ban on assault rifles - as detailed above - find the source of this insane and irrational roadblock to change and tell them they need to do their job and LISTEN TO US. It is easy and quick and it's all laid out in the Huffington Post. Just CLICK HERE.
The time for silence has passed. I promise, to all my friends who - through sheer, fucking luck - were blessed with a road more difficult than my own, that I will call or email everyone on that list. I will make my outrage be known and I will demand the change that you deserve-
I'm for you and I'm with you.
6/13/16 Addendum: I saw a comment on a friend's Facebook page that, in response to the man behind the Orlando massacre, said 'fuck these people.' I was moved to immediate anger by the ignorant, all-encompassing dismissal of an entire sect of people. I was not born into an Islamic home by an act of luck. My mother's California-born egg shook hands with my father's California-born sperm and tah-dah, out came a ME. I came into a home that was - for most of my childhood - Roman Catholic and well stocked with food and love. I had nothing to do with any of that. People born into different religions and different socio-economic regions started the same way I did, as a human child with no control over anything they were brought into. By luck I was born with a clear-cut path to my sexual identity. Some are not. For anyone to stand on any sort of "I know better than everyone" moral high ground is to admit to being totally stupid or completely self-centered. One bad person does not make everyone that looks, talks or worships like them the same. And to that end, I give you this - my favorite image from yesterday-