Thursday, June 16, 2016

Orlando Shooting

I told myself I wasn't going to write about Orlando this week. There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. But my mind keeps circling back and around. To violence, to guns, to hatred begetting hatred.

To the picture of eighteen year-old Akyra Monet Murray - the youngest killed in this latest senseless display of self-centered, narrow-minded temper. Just graduated high school, heading off to college. When I was her age, I managed to talk my way into a bar with borrowed ID. Did she do the same? A gay bar - was she wrestling with questions of sexuality, out to see what another side of life looked like, secure in her attraction to women, looking for a date? The punishment for such misbehavior ought to be a lecture about the effects of alcohol on brain development and the dangers of hooking up with older strangers. She should have gotten kicked out and sent home with her tail between her legs.

She should not have spent the last minutes of her life bleeding out in a bathroom stall because she went to a bar. She's supposed to be practicing basketball right now, not lying still and stiff, killed because. because.

Because there is so much wrong in our messed up and broken world.

Because I, and people like me, who have watched the news with horror and read of shooting after shooting after shooting, have not done what little we can do.

The evil monster who came out from the closet in Orlando this week has many heads, but without the gun, without the ability to spray a room red with a touch of a trigger, its hateful power is diminished. Countries with strict gun-control laws do not have the problems we do with mass shootings. I have heard exactly zero reasons why anyone outside of the military needs to have an assault rifle.

Yes, the NRA is a big and powerful lobby. But small, well-directed donations turned Bernie Sanders from a little-known senator into a viable presidential candidate. This time, instead of just shaking my head and shedding tears for needlessly ruined lives, I will do my research and find a group who is already protesting the ready availability of assault rifles in this country. I will add my voice and my dollars to theirs. I will keep adding until either my time runs out or the sale of the guns is banned.

This time, I will do what little I can, so that next time, and sadly, there will be a next time, I will have the small satisfaction of knowing I have at least tried to make a difference.

In memory of Akyra and the children of Sandy Hook.

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