I can’t stop thinking about Orlando – and god does it hurt that all I have to do is say the name of my home, a name that once brought up images of Lake Eola and angry swans and looming black thunderclouds and oppressive humidity and the deafening buzz of cicadas and the swampy sweat of lakes and a thousand sunburnt faces at Disney and a thriving queer community, but now
Now Orlando is shorthand for a massacre. For fear. For anger. For hate. For a dozen talking heads using the murder of 50 POC queers as a way to push their individual, often hateful and ignorant, beliefs.
I am still raw. We have made so much progress, our not-so-little queer community. We have marriage. We have more rights. I can hold my wife’s hand and not be afraid someone will shout slurs at us. I can come out to the grocery store clerk and not worry that they’ll deny us service. I know we are lucky. I know there are still pockets of hate sprinkled throughout the country. But they having been shrinking.
This should never have happened.
I can’t stop thinking that.
I can’t stop wondering how one human could possibly murder 50 others. How one man could obtain the means to do so. And how we continue to allow, even encourage, that to happen.
I wrote about this hate first because I knew that so many people would try to twist this around into a religious or extremist or Muslim or mental illness issue. But this hate is more than all those things. And this hate will never go away. It is the hate of other, an ignorant hate, and no matter how far we come in rights and acceptance, there will always be someone who hates.
I’ve seen friends argue that the root of this murder was toxic masculinity, that it was internalized homophobia, that it was a direct result of our hate-filled media, that our mental health system failed him. Sure, all of that is definitely part of the problem. We can work on fixing that. We should work on fixing that.
But doing so won’t stop the next mass murder, or the next, or Friday’s.
The problem is that one person can murder 50 people.
One person with enough hate to kill and a system that will let him buy a military-style gun as easily as buying candy.
And this will happen again. And again. And again. What will it take so that our right to live trumps their right to own a gun? When will domestic abusers be denied access to automatic weapons? When will the massacre of children actually fucking matter?
There will always be hate. I am not afraid of hate alone. I am afraid of hate with a gun and I am furious with those who continue to enable hate.