I wrote this last year after the tragedy in Orlando. I was unsure where I would go with my writing, so I have held on to this piece. After the latest violence and terrorism in Manchester and London, I pulled out the piece. I think all these instances of violence are related. Since lately terrorism occurs almost every 10 days I thought I would share it.
“It has been over a week since the terrible tragedy in Orlando. A gunman murdered over 49 people and maimed at least another 50. Once again, we have the back and forth in the media and on Facebook. Some shout about gun control. Others offer limp prayers. Still others argue about the type of hate that motivated this particular attack.
On Sunday morning I wondered, along with a few others, what would be the appropriate response to this tragedy? Perhaps another prayer vigil? An angry worded letter to Congress? Frankly, the options of responses feel a little overdone and under-helpful.
As usual, per the script, people demand answers, shed a few tears and then return to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. We can only last so long in the heat of emotion. We can only pay attention so long until…oh look, alpacas! I think that we ask the wrong questions and I don’t think we want to hear the answers.
Why did this happen? Why did this man decided to shoot up a club filled with people having fun on a Saturday night? I think we sort of know the answer to this. This man was mentally unstable, felt hate for gay people and the LGBTQ community, and decided to express that hate as violently as possible using a powerful weapon, a gun.
Why does he feel so angry and hateful? Now, there is the question. We can speculate where that hate began. We can point back to moments of rage and instability in this person at earlier times, but we don’t know why exactly.
What can we do to stop this kind of violence again? Ugh, I am not sure that we can or that we would be willing to do what it takes to stop violence. We could take away guns, knives, and other items. We could medicate people as soon as they have a diagnosis of mental illness. We can prohibit any speech that is violent or offensive. Those steps might slow the actions, but will it get to the heart of hate?
I am not sure that you can combat hate. I think that hate has to be dismantled like an old Cadillac, one piece at a time. We have to commit to living lives of love, reaching out to the excluded, listening, confronting and dealing with emotions-even the ugly ones. Piece by piece, we speak the truth in love to one another. Piece by piece, we help each other work through anger and misunderstanding and not sweep it away. Piece by piece, we show new ways to deal with problems that do not use violence.”