Just a word about Orlando – not fic related so skip if you want

I’ve read recently about how some people somehow feel a lack of connection with the mass-shooting deaths and injuries at that club (Pulse) in Orlando.

Now, I don’t see these people as mean/bad/terrible, not really, not at heart.  It could be that they’re suffering from “disaster fatigue” or “compassion fatigue”, and with so many mass shootings being allowed to happen in America, I can certainly understand where they’re coming from.

It might be that they don’t personally know anyone “in that community”, meaning the non-straight community.  I can kind of see that – if you’re not family or friends with someone in a marginalized group of people, the trials and tribulations they have to endure on a daily basis just don’t quite hit home with you, therefore you wouldn’t necessarily feel a meaningful (emotional) connection when preventable tragedies like this occur.

It might be that the disconnected are so terrified of some mythical MIBs bounding up to their door to “steal their guns” that they pretty much believe that any deaths are acceptable losses so long as they get to keep their precious automatic/semi-automatic/assault rifles/whatever name people use for guns capable of quick mass murder.  My rose-colored glasses want to believe that these people really are not as cold-hearted and illogical as they seem to be, but I honestly don’t know.  (If you’re part of this faction, please unfollow me.)

And then you have the people who, whether at the heart or on the fringes, used to be a part of that stricken community, people who were besties and shoulders to cry on, people who would gladly dance the night away to celebrate the successes of someone in that marginalized group, who would sob and hug and drink till daylight comes to ease the horrors of daily life with the affected.  People…people who  can’t be there now, who can’t hug and be held, who can’t cry on and be cried on, people who grew physically distant because of life and jobs and the acquiring of other dreams that took them thousands of miles away…and so they grew away from the heart that beat so strongly.   A natural feeling of disconnect will seep in – especially in times like this, and in a weird way that makes the loss even worse for them.

For the most part, I think this weird feeling of being disconnected from the ever-increasing number of tragedies has more to do with just how big America is – from sea to rising sea.   This didn’t happen in YOUR neighborhood.  This likely wasn’t even in your STATE.

You’re not close enough to smell the blood or see the intestines scattered across the bloody floor.  The brain matter slowly oozing down the wall probably didn’t belong to “one of yours”, the spilled contents of some woman’s purse are meaningless to you, the unanswered phone ringing in the dead man’s pocket isn’t your call going eternally unanswered.

Thing is, these deaths ARE meaningful to someone.  Moms and dads lost their daughters and sons, cousins lost cousins, brothers and sisters lost brothers and sisters, and sometimes, daughters and sons lost their moms and dads.

Friends lost friends.

I wish I had the dubious luxury of feeling that disconnect, but these people were sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, and yeah, moms and probably some dads, too.

And best friends.

More than that, though, every single person murdered was the living embodiment of hopes and dreams, hard work and play, fun, sweat, tears, love, loss, success.

That…I can’t disconnect from.  Did I personally know anyone “over there”?  No, but…no matter how commonplace these senseless, meaningless, preventable tragedies have become, when people die, dreams die, love dies, and hope dies.

And that does affect us all.

Thank you for reading.

~Mer

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31 thoughts on “Just a word about Orlando – not fic related so skip if you want

  1. I know what you mean. When it happens far away it isn’t as immediate . In this case I live about forty miles from Orlando. I can’t help feeling selfish for hoping no one I know is among the dead and injured. I suspect I know people who are close to those who are hurt. It ia uplifting to see the outpouring of love and support from all over world. Still, being hit close to home is scary.

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  2. Yeah I understand about the disconnect. I am across the country and I do not know anyone there. But it could have easily been here where I live. People who hate and want to kill will always find a reason to do so. Be it because they are “gay” or “Christian” or “women” or “soldiers” . I have only hated the man who molested me as a child that much but even that hate wanes with time. I do not understand that kind of hate. Are those haters broken or are we?

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  3. Thank you, Meridian. I didn’t find out about Orlando until late in the day that it happened because my laptop died, then again, I’m old and used to getting my bad news the old way. I think some people feel this “disconnect” because of one of the things you have pointed out; the many, many random mass shootings that have occurred in this country. People are becoming “used to” these types of killings as much as we all became accustomed to the gangland killings that repeatedly occurred in their time. Just what exactly does this say about us a whole when we become so accustomed to something as senseless and horrific as people being murdered while they’re out having fun and someone just walks in with a rifle and murders them? For no reason; not that there is an explicable reason for anyone to ever do something so terrible, so soulless… I don’t give a damn what your religion might be or what spirituality one follows. I do know that if there’s one thing common in all them, it is that murder is a sin. What possible sin could hundreds of strangers be committing on a Saturday night that any sane person decides it’s time to take matters into their own hands, become judge, jury, and executioner, and then carry it out? So, when we have people who then hear, read, and learn about this then say they feel a “disconnect?” I understand, really. We are over-sensitized with 24-hour media coverage, the Internet, et al. Still, people! Reconnect! Where is your compassion? That this happened in Orlando, FL, so maybe it’s far away…? I have family living in St. Cloud, right next to Orlando. One of them could have been a victim, but they weren’t, thank God. Even I didn’t have family there, so what? I live in Pittsburgh, PA and I’ve cried many a tear over these people and for their families, and I suppose I might cry more in the week to come. Yes, every single one of them is a stranger to me. So what? The plain truth of this mass murder is that it could have happened anywhere in this country or world today. The plain truth is that it will happen again. I hope we get to grieve for those loved and lost in Orlando for a time to come before the next one happens. I’m not being cynical; I’m speaking the truth and we all know it. Until something is done to keep these weapons out of the hands of people who have no business owning them or even being near them, it will happen again. I hope that some of you “reconnect” by then because if you continue to feel desensitized or disconnected, I fear for you and the future of our nation as a whole. I have more to say on the matter, but I won’t take up any more space more here, Meridian. Thank you for writing what you wrote. Bless you.

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  4. i can’t help but feel for the shooting since i live just a couple of miles away from Pulse. that i have met a few people who goes there regularly and i haven’t heard from them yet. and even if i want to just bury my head in the sand, the stream of news vans going back and forth every time i look out of my window will surely shake you to reality. i was born and raised in the Philippines and practically grew up under martial law. you’d think i’ll be used to the violence by now. but how could anyone get use to such hate? 😦

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  5. Well said Meridian. I started to type out a longer response, but decided that you had said it better than I ever could.

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  6. I’m heartbroken for everyone who lost a friend or family member in this senseless tragedy. I don’t feel disconnected at all…I feel sad and angry as hell! And I feel scared that someone who perpetuates attitudes like those of the shooter (a “them vs. us” mentality) may very well become the next President of our country. The whole thing makes me want to bundle up my children and run away to some remote island away from our so-called “civilization” (which is a joke…there’s nothing civilized about the way too many people behave in the world today!) 😥

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  7. murgatroid98: I don’t think hoping no one you know was killed or injured is at all selfish! It just shows that you care. I’m not generally one of those “harp on the positive” people – I’ve seen too many cases where their main desire seems to be to downplay the tragedy by aggressively concentrating/giving air time to what positives they can find/invent – but honestly, one of the positive back-drafts from tragedies like this *IS* that it allows people to show and voice their love and support even if the only way they *can* do it is via social media. People do need that outlet, that way of giving voice in whatever way to the shock, horror, etc., that they feel as a member of the more global community. But yeah, regardless, things like this ARE horrifying.

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  8. desireecarbenell: 😦 Sometimes hatred is absolutely deserved, as in the case of abuse, sexual abuse, molestation, rape, etc…, but when it comes to “this person does a thing with her/his life that I don’t like”?? It just does not make sense. So what if this guy kisses another guy or this girl kisses another girl? So what if this person worships this higher power with a name different from the higher power you worship? So what? I honestly don’t understand that kind of hatred, and I’m kind of glad I don’t. I’ve tried to think of these things in terms of ‘nature versus nurture’ – ‘natural born killer’ versus ‘life made her/him that way’ and, yeah, I’m still lost. I’d far rather write about these things or make positive/beneficial changes or talk to my lonely elderly neighbor or take a nap or cuddle my cats and dog or read a good book than go around trying to think up reasons to kill people – maybe I’m the broken one?

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  9. msbuffy: Hey, write away! That’s one of the reasons I took the plunge and posted this – I know I can’t be the only one with words and feelings circling around needing an outlet. I think you express your opinions clearly and that they make absolute sense!!

    My thing? We are all one world. Whether it’s “in” the world, “on” the world, or hell, “in our own little” world, we are all one world, and I genuinely do not understand how some of ‘us’ so obviously – evilly, vilely, and absolutely – choose to knowingly and actively harm, even to kill, others of us. How? Why? We all have the right to our own feelings, of course, and if Person A honestly doesn’t like Person B, well geez, the world is big enough that A doesn’t have to even be near B! Just leave B alone and go about your business! Killing another person – people – because of who they kiss? Who they love? Who they worship? That makes just about as much sense as killing someone for wearing whatever color on a Wednesday: None.

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  10. galwidanatitud: You can’t, and you shouldn’t. Hate is infectious and malignant and invidious, but it cannot be allowed to become “the new normal”. I can’t say that “love conquers all” – you still need food and toilet paper and common sense, but damn, someone murdering people just because of genital preferences or religious preference makes about as much sense as murdering someone because of the color of shirt they wore on a Wednesday. It’s senseless! It’s insane! And this kind of horrendous chaos is even worse for those who, like you, have already had to endure violence and its aftermath. How do you find peace and tranquility when violent murderous assholes go ape-shit? There is no way of becoming accustomed to hatred, and no one should. ❤

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  11. switbo: Thank you, and type away, sweetie. That’s one of the reasons I went ahead and posted this. When thoughts and emotions are swirling around looking for a safe outlet, that outlet can sometimes be hard to find. So…talk away. We’ll make room, and the (sadly virtual) coffee is free (and hot, too, and really, really good…)

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  12. wujibu: Thank you. You’re absolutely right – pain, just as joy, is universal, global, and it should be. If we can celebrate each other’s successes and triumphs, we should share each other’s burdens and tribulations, too. We are all one planet – whether near or far or any other designation meant to show distance or difference, we are all one planet.

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  13. lostinspace33: Ohhh sweetie, I am right there with you. It’s that whole purposefully-divisive “us versus them” propaganda machine that has caused all this current destruction – we sure as hell don’t need MORE of it! Honestly, we do not need more vile Carrot-esque morons spewing even more vile propaganda out into the world. And on an entirely not-different note, can I just say that I adore Canada’s new PM? Granted he’s not perfect, but he’s pretty damn close.

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  14. Oh Meridian, I appreciate the encouragement. Unfortunately, I have so much despair and anger percolating over this (latest in a long line) tragedy, that if I start talking it will just turn into a rant that will probably involve screaming and tears.

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  15. switbo: If that’s what it takes… I do have the “Ask Me” feature (aka: private contact…), fwiw. Either way, keeping that kind of shit bottled up too long is never a good idea. Consider yourself given “the look” then squishy-hugged. ❤

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  16. Amen. Live & let live. Ain’t nobody’s bid’ness anyway. Here’s the odd thing that the 2nd Amendment zealots don’t get; nobody wants to take your handguns or hunting rifles, or even your collection of antiques. What we would like to see happen is a ban on assault rifles and automatic weapons designed for nothing but the use of killing human beings. If you aren’t in the line of duty that calls for the use of these weapons, you don’t need them! I lived in an area that was populated by “weekend warriors” or hunters and I can tell you that none of them would ever use these to go deerhunting. For one thing, I don’t think it’s permissible in PA, it’s unsportsmanlike no matter how much alcohol is consumed, and there would be nothing left of the deer for the hunter to show off! Leave these weapons in the hands of those trained to use them for their professions, enforce stricter and more rigid background checks on those who would purchase any gun. Eliminate open sales at gun shows. Those truly interested will still make purchases after waiting the allotted time. Make it illegal to privately sell and purchase firearms from those who are not registered dealers. Make it illegal to “gift” firearms to another individual; if one wants to purchase a gift, then go to an authorized retailer and have both individuals complete the paperwork, wait the time that others must, and then give the gift.
    If I cannot buy a decongestant without having to fill out a ream of paperwork to prove that I’m not making meth, nor am I meth addict, why can it not be made more difficult for criminals and the severely, persistently mentally ill to get their hands on guns? To me, this is a no-brainer, NRA & gun lobbyists be damned! The firearms industry is in bed with these people and has been for so long that it’s long past time to change the sheets! We don’t need mini-militias in this nation! We have a National Guard, we have a Coast Guard, and one the best & brightest militaries in the world. Some people just take the 2nd Amendment far too literally and forget that it was written at a time when this nation was very widespread and not largely populated. The entire Amendment needs an overhaul, although that isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime. Its up to all of you, this younger generation, to keep fighting for this most significant change. There are opportunities on the horizon… Don’t waste them! We truly are all one world, and as the US goes, most of the world follows. Let’s hope we can set a great example for the future.

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  17. Damn I live on the other side of the world and I feel the horror of it. I taught a girl whose dad was incinerated in the Bali bombings at a nightclub. They didn’t even have a body to bury. She was 14 years old when it happened and she was in hospital for 6 months and had to wear a burns suit to school every day when she did get out. She had to have surgery and skin grafts every time she grew. She is now a nurse working in the burns unit of a major hospital. This does impact people’s lives in a major way and they are never the same again. The least we can do is give a shit about what they are going through.
    I grew up around guns – my dad would pack his own ammo for competition shooting. He’s got a room full of trophies and medals and all sorts of shit really. I remember when they changed the gun laws here in the late 90s after a mass shooting and Dad had to change the way he stored his guns and adhere to more restrictions / rules but that was a small price to pay really. Yeah no more guns rolled up in blankets in the back of the car – I kid you not… Fucking madness but hey it was the 70s. But I can think of no sane reason to allow civilians to have semi-automatic weapons.
    I feel strongly about it but also a bit weird because I am non-American… Hopefully it’s still ok for me to have an opinion.

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  18. ladytarara: Exactly. I don’t have a problem with reasonable, responsible, mentally sane people owning handguns for home and personal protection, nor do I have a problem with hunters having their Bambi-murdering rifles and shotguns, and I certainly don’t mind antiques collectors having antique shooty bits, but the only people who ‘need‘ weapons of mass murder are… mass murderers. I wish that no country or entity on the fucking planet had weaponry capable of murdering on a large scale, honestly, but there’s absolutely no reason why Jo Sno-blow on the street should ever be able to get his grubby little hands on a semi-automatic. None whatsoever.

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