I doubt that I have to explain what has happened in Orlando over the last 48 hours. With the shooting death of Christina Grimmie at the Plaza Live on Friday Night, then the mass murdering of 59 people at Pulse night club last night, I woke this Sunday morning feeling devastated. The most I could muster to say on my Facebook page was “What the hell happened to my town???”
I’ve had this ache behind my brow all day, the sort you feel where you feel tears beginning to form, and you want to bawl and let it all go, but you can’t because you’re just so angry. And yes, I will confess this is the angriest I can ever recall being.
I’ve always considered Orlando my home town. Since 1992, I’ve left for stints, but always returned. It’s a welcoming town, the weather is great, it has a lush, green environment, and it’s citizens are some of the most demographically diverse you could ever find. I’m not sure what the rest of the world has to figure out, but we seem to all get along rather well. For some reason, diversity works very well in Orlando. Maybe it’s all the pockets of neighborhoods where different citizens keep their cultures alive and maintained with their own unique traditions. They don’t IMPOSE them on others, they just keep their traditions vibrant by allowing others to come and enjoy them. Not to mention, when some of the rest of the country has dipped into darker debts, our little city has seemed to remain prosperous, without being expensive. And yes, it is a small city, boasting only 250,000 residents.
When I woke this morning at 5am, the whole ordeal had just begun. I was immediately heartbroken. But, as the day progressed, I got angrier and angrier. By mid day I was at Publix and the same cashiers I see everyday looked as morose as I. As a matter of fact, it seemed everyone in the supermarket had a personal quiet about them. When the cashier asked me how I was today, I could only reply in that ready to cracke voice of someone on the verge of a fit, “It’s a crappy day in Orlando.” To which she replied sullenly with, “I know….”
I’m angry because someone did this to my hometown. Someone did this to our little city; excuse me, but an ideology did this to our simple, humble, happy way of life. I’m angry someone disrespected our unusual ability to mesh. Angry that “the happiest place on Earth,” was turned into the most hellish scene imaginable. Angry because we as a people of Orlando were forced into this duality of ideologies forced upon us with violence. Angry because my own president would not call it an act of Islamic terrorism. Angry that even the leaders over at the LGBTQXFDGRY Center (or whatever they want to call it) demanded in a press conference that we force our attentions to “gun violence” rather than the obvious truth of an ideological violence that political correctness has kept us from truthfully combating on a social level. Angry that every group associated with the gay community (from the Human Rights Campaign to the Zebra Coalition) has made this an attack on “gay rights,” when we know it is not. This was not an attack on the gay community, it was an attack on our city as a whole, the one place where people from all over the world come on a daily basis to enjoy. This was an attack on our way of life, our answer to the frustrations and battles people face all over the globe. This is was an attack on our gift to the world: a place where you could come and enjoy yourself, lay by the pool, sip a cocktail, and enjoy cultures from all over the world.
And I’m angry that this version of a cultural utopia we have branded for ourselves will be harmed the more we forget who did this to us. They have a name, they have an identity, and they have a mission. Angry I’m not allowed to say who they are for fear of political, social, cultural retaliation. Angry I’ll be called a bigot, a racist, if I declare who did this and why….and that pattern is no longer suspicious but suspect to serious investigation.
So, I’ve lit a prayer candle, for that’s all I can do for the moment. But, I can’t cry just yet. I’m still too angry.