Sunday was a heartbreaking day, finding out a mass shooting had occurred in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. I spent the day crying on and off, mourning for the lives snuffed out because of hatred. I don't care what your religion is or what your political leanings are that might make you feel wary of people from the LGBTQ+ community, because murder is wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG. 50 people dead and at least 53 people wounded in a place they felt safe and accepted at the hands of a mad man. Imagine someone coming into your safe place. Maybe it's a place of worship, your home, a loved one's home, a community center, or anything. Now, imagine someone walked in, pulled out a gun, and shot down the people you call family, the people you call home, all because they're so full of hatred that they had to take it out on the object of their hate.
Hate doesn't do anything but propagate more hate. If we want to change lives, including our own, we give people the room to be themselves and love them regardless of the things in them we don't fully understand. We must use empathy when we interact with one another. We must give one another patience, grace, and show people kindness even when we don't understand them. Then we must ask questions about what we don't understand and listen eagerly to the answer. If you expect someone to listen to your ideas, you better be ready to actively listen to theirs.
A belief system that is so extreme that it justifies a person to hate, kill, and/or discriminate is not a very good belief system to belong to, and one that has nothing to do with Love. This goes for any religion/church. ANY ONE OF THEM. ANY. ONE. OF. THEM. Extremism and elitism in any form make us forget that we are all human- wandering in a world so big and full of mystery, where we are actually infinitely smaller than our pridefulness tells us we are. Not one of us is better than another. NOT ONE.
This was a heartbreaking attack motivated by extreme hatred and homophobia. It was an attack on the LGBTQ+ community specifically. The man who did it hated himself and hated others who loved themselves and lived authentically. The person was an extremist and a person with a record of violence. He was not a representation of others who follow the faith that he may have been a part of. If he was a part of Islam, it was part of an extreme version of that faith. Those of us who are not Muslim should not extend hatred to others who don't deserve it. Nobody likes to have something they're a part of, something that they find to be lovely and uplifting, being negatively generalized just because of some crazy people who don't make up the majority. Put yourself in their shoes: if it was your belief, community, friends, and/or family who were being generalized as evil and murderous, how much would it hurt you?
I don't have any answers, but this whole thing breaks my heart. Anytime I hear about one of these acts of terror anywhere in the world, I'm chilled to the bone. But this one...this one really fucked me up; this one hit super close to home. They could have been friends of mine. It could have been me.
Sometimes I wish I could build a pillow fort and hide inside it with all my loved ones.
Love and safety to each and every one of you,