Lake-Eola-Park

A Very Heartbroken Orlando

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.

Lake-Eola-ParkI’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.

15 comments

  1. You are the first person I thought of when I heard about the shootings today. I’m glad you’re safe and I’m sorry this has happened to your city.

    I wish the U.S. governments (federal and state, because we all know the federal government’s hands are tied most of the time) would get their act together and not just talk about gun control, but put a reliable, no-nonsense, intelligent plan into ACTION for gun control.

  2. I’m sad and angry and so disappointed that we don’t do something more aggressive to get rid of these weapons of war which have no business in any civilian’s possession. We see the destruction they cause and yet they continue to be sold. As to the hate and bigotry we see more and more of in the USA, that saddens me in another way. I thought we, as a people, were better than this. But attend a Trump rally and you will see that bigotry and hatred are alive and well and have found a home with one presidential candidate.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost their lives, are fighting for their lives, and, of course to all their loved ones.

    The sadness just never stops.

  3. This person committed these atrocities, by his own admission, because he saw two men kissing. Please, was he serious? He had been following ISIS for a while. The problem is not the tools that he used but the ideology that says it’s perfectly acceptable to kill. My son is gay. He owns what the above ladies want to ban. He goes to the shooting range and uses it for practice, because one of our family’s hobbies, along with hiking, skiing, and volunteering at wild animal sanctuaries, is target shooting. There are ideologies in this world that believe that my son and others like him do not have the right to live. That is not bigotry, or hatred, but reality. And that is why my gay son owns a rifle. Sad but true.

    I thought of you, Gregory, and a friend of mine from high school who is a member of the community there. You were the first people I thought of. My other friend lost a friend and another friend’s daughter was shot six times and is in critical condition. So completely tragic. My prayers are with all of you.

  4. Very well said. I have to say that I was also immediately concerned for your safety and am glad that you are. I don’t want to get into my own political outspokenness but I must say that the this is only the first. These people want to get rid of anyone who us not like them. Today the gays, tomorrow the Christians, Jews or anyone who stands in the way of their barbaric religious thought process. This must be stopped!

  5. I read your blog, Gregory, and you have my sympathies that this atrocity had to happen at all, but also in your corner of the country as well. I am saddened at such terrible loss and my heart goes out to all those families involved. Then I read the comments here and didn’t know whether to be angrier or sadder. Really? Seriously? As Gregory has said, it has nothing to do with gun control. Do you really think the AK47 he had was gotten thru legal means???!!!! Wake up, World and stop using your own agendas to play the blame game. OPEN YOUR EYES and Leave that excuse behind. It has NOTHING to do with gun control. It has nothing to do with gay rights. If we had had less airplanes, would that have prevented the tragedies of 9/11??!! It has nothing to do with guns. Even yet, these people will STILL do these things to this country. If we tighten the controls enough that only the bad guys and the police will be the only ones that have the guns, then it only leads to more helpless moving targets. Or better yet, let’s not live in a democracy any more, and tighten the controls so much the illegal weapons are not as readily available. Do you honestly think that will stop these things from happening?! NO!! They will only build more backyard bombs to leave in trash cans. Or better yet, let’s take their guns away and give them a reason to start using bio-chemical warfare!! Treating the symptoms of the day does NOT cure the problem or prevent it, and playing the blame game only gives people an excuse to go on pretending to be blind to the real problems. IT SOLVES NOTHING!!!

    My apologies to you, Gregory, for getting on my soap box. Yes, I was angry, too, and now I’m even angrier….

    1. “He is not a prohibited person. They can legally walk into a gun dealership and acquire and purchase firearms. He did so. And he did so within the last week or so,” ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor said.

      Nothing to do with gun control? We have stricter laws in Canada and we don’t have mass shootings.

  6. Coming from Jerusalem I have much empathy for the people suffering from the tragedy that hit so close to home for you. It makes so vivid the meaning of the concept called terror…

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