Normally, in this space, I would be telling you about the latest book I had just read. But yesterday, through social media I learned about what happened in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida, and I knew that my normal routine had to change for at least a little bit.
Not only because the need to acknowledge the death of 50 innocent people. Not only to send my heartfelt wishes for healing and compassion to the survivors. I also wanted to do something, start to change something. I felt the need–no a desire to finally stand up and stop saying “I’m sorry” but rather do something about it.
But what could I do? What could anyone do in the face of such a senseless and mindless tragedy? For those on the outside, it can look completely overwhelming. For those living through it, surviving it. it can be so, so much worse.
So last night I thought about what I would write today once the morning sun greeted me. I thought long and hard about talking about the current laws, the nature of religion, or even the state of the LGBTQIA community, and how some people think that this murderous rampage was nothing more than a smokescreen to hide a growing governmental or big brother ruse to take guns away, or our rights away.
And I realized, that really, right now, none of that matters.
What matters is that the innocent people in Orlando Florida are dead. Just like innocent people are dead all over the world, every day by violence. That is the important thing.
So instead of focusing on where the blame should be placed, this blog post will focus on what I can and will continue to do in order to make the situation better. Whether you decide to join my efforts is entirely up to you.
I Will Learn More
I will continue to strive to learn more about the various communities in which I live. I will talk with people in my LGBTQIA community, religious community, straight community, just the community in general and do my best to learn about their struggles, triumphs, and everyday life. That way, I might be able to see ways I can help if needed, or desired.
I Will Offer Sanctuary
To those specifically struggling within the LGBTQIA community, I will offer a listening ear, a warm meal, and a true sense of sanctuary in my presence. I will not judge you based on your orientation or gender identity, but I will call you out if you’re being a prick, just like I will do with anyone else. I will treat you as my brother, my sister, and my friend, and as a human being worthy of respect.
To those who feel in their hearts that members of the LGBTQIA community are somehow broken, or in need of saving (you know who you are) I will also offer you something. I will offer you conversation, experience, and knowledge. I hope, in all honesty, that our conversations will help you realize the true nature of the compassion and love that you claim to feel. But know this; if you choose to continue to see and treat the members of the LGBTQIA communities as second-class people, and hurt them, I will stand and fight against you without hesitation or remorse.
I Will Foster Knowledge and Understanding
Too often, hatred is borne of ignorance and misunderstanding. Too many times have I seen someone base their actions not on truth and facts, but rather on what they were told to believe. Tragedies like what happened in Orlando do not begin around coffee tables of conversation and the sharing of experiences, knowledge and wisdom. They begin with the indoctrination of young people, and the smothering of free thought and true wisdom and understanding.
So I will do my best to foster understanding, knowledge, and wisdom. I will encourage people to think, and not regurgitate or recite. I will continue to test, question, and hold my beliefs and knowledge and wisdom of the ages under the strictest of scrutiny, and all the tools available to me to understand the world around me, and share that information with any and all who wish to learn.
I Will Be Aware
Too many times, I have observed people going about their daily lives, unattached and uninvolved in the world around them. Many people lamented to me about the tragedy in Orlando, and about how it is such a shock, how they had no idea how something so senseless could have happened.
The urge to punch those people is almost overwhelming.
The truth of the matter is that violence of this nature happens everywhere, every day. The only reason that it shocks people is that they have chosen to ignore the world around them, choosing rather their computer screens, their selfish desires, and the comfort of ignorance.
If more people were alert and aware of their surroundings, a man walking into a nightclub armed to the teeth should have been noticed, and the potential victims could have been warned earlier.
I’m not saying that the gunman should have been confronted while he was armed. Most people are not trained, or capable of doing such a thing. I know that I would not confront him directly. However, the likelihood that there were absolutely no prior warning signs, no indications concerning what was to happen is simply laughable.
They say that hindsight is twenty-twenty. I am going to make sure that my current sight is the same, and if I see or hear something that endangers people, I will try my best to find a way to prevent it from becoming another tragedy.
I Will Celebrate
Despite all the bloodshed, tragedy, danger, and hatred in the world, I will always believe that the world and the creatures within it are worth celebrating. I will continue to shout with jubilation of our accomplishments, of new-found knowledge, of re-discovered wisdom, and of re-formed connections with the natural world that surrounds us. I will celebrate and give praise to the doctors who advance treatments and cures for diesases. I will celebrate and give thanks to those engineers who develop new and affordable ways to provide clean drinking water. I will celebrate and boost about the teachers who never give up and sacrifice so much to help children really and truly learn about life. I will smile and cry with joy when an animal is able to live as it does naturally.
What I have said here may not sound like much. I am but one person, one voice facing an onslaught of fear, ignorance and hatred. But one person can help to heal the wounds of another, and one voice can give strength and encouragement to those who hear it.
What will you choose to do?
© 2016, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.