A Note on Orlando

On Sunday, we woke up to the news from Orlando. We have never been to Orlando. We don’t have a mental picture of it, as we did of Manhattan, Tucson, London, or Paris when other tragedies occurred. We probably won’t ever go to Orlando. Now we are all thinking of ourselves as part of a place that is totally unfamiliar. We are all living in Orlando.

My niece was graduating from university under a beautiful blue San Diego sky, and we were spending a rare day with my brother and his family. So I just put the shootings out of my mind.

Perhaps that was the problem. Much of America tuned the shooting out because it’s just too much. But in cities all over the world, LGBT people and their friends held nonviolent vigils to honor people they probably didn’t know. Donald Trump, in his usual idiocy, said it was all about Islam. People like Donald Trump are the real threat to the world, not Islam. As somebody posted on Facebook, if they really wanted to get us, we would already be dead.

The right wing and its corporate supporters are our enemy. Remember, it is the attitude of the right wing that led to the death of most of the gay people in this country, whether it was street thugs beating us up or politicians like Ronald Reagan killing us by ignoring the plight of people with AIDS.

On Sunday, the queer columnist from the Guardian, Owen Jones, walked off a Sky News broadcast when he had enough of straight people telling him that the shooting in Orlando wasn’t about us. Not unlike white folks telling African Americans what’s good for them. Who can blame him?

Hopefully, the end of the NRA will turn out to be the work of a bunch of angry queers!

President Obama spoke about prayer in his speech, which angered a lot of people. How does prayer help when the NRA has the financial resources to scare Republicans into backing assault weapons, and very importantly, their rich manufacturers? While I would love to see the gun profiteers punished (along with a lot of other profiteers of suffering, while we are at it), I don’t think prayer is a mistake here. It won’t substitute for putting the NRA and gun manufacturers out of business. It won’t bring back the dead. But a vigil is like a mass prayer. We may post things on social media or sign petitions or even attend one of these vigils. But we are still left with our solitary self making sense of this tragedy. That is what prayer is for. To help us get up tomorrow and find some message of love. And while we are at it, sign a petition or two.

Perhaps the one thing we can all do is to defeat all Republicans at the polls in November! That will screw both Citizens United and the NRA! Might even save Social Security. That would be something to pray for.

Posted Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 | Essays
  1. douglas tom says:

    Kenny – Well said, as usual. Sometimes I feel so helpless when it comes to shaking sense into the NRA and their backers. Sign a petition – sure. Say a prayer – sure. What will end this non-sense?

  2. Tim Culvahouse says:

    Amen, brother.

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