“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
-Dalai Lama XIV
I’ve spent the better part of the day wondering how I could put into words exactly how I feel about the Orlando shooting. I’ve always known that living in a major US city meant being a possible target for these kinds of attacks but its not until you’re right in the center of it that you realize the impact.
I woke up this morning and watched the news. So much of the coverage was focused on the alleged identity of the shooter and his possible motives for committing such a heinous act. I watched as families and friends of the victims were interviewed and could feel the raw emotion even through the TV screen.
I logged onto Twitter and was faced with heartfelt messages where people expressed their deepest sympathies. Of course, I also encountered tweets filled with bigotry and hatred. The amount of ignorance surrounding this tragedy is unreal. It’s definitely not acceptable to think that any of the victims “deserved it” or “shouldn’t have been there in the first place.” These types of nightclubs are supposed to be safe havens for people of the LGBTQ community and for people to make these types of comments is absolutely disgusting and unnecessary.
I logged onto Facebook and was prompted to mark myself as safe but my heart was heavy as I clicked the button. Thinking about the families and friends of the victims who will never see their profiles marked as safe continues to weigh heavily on my mind.
Coming to terms with the fact that such a horrific event happened in my own city is a strange process to say the least. I reflect on the times that other mass shootings have happened in the US and realize the number is far too large. Things like this shouldn’t happen at all let alone at such a high frequency. I’ve grown up in an era where it has almost been normalized to wake up to some kind of tragedy on the news.
I also feel saddened when I think about our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and in countries like Nigeria where groups like Boko Haram continue to torment their people. They live in constant fear and yet widespread support and hashtags calling for prayers are rare. Its a shame.
Something I want to see happen in this world is for us to become actually united. We as global citizens should not pick and choose which tragedies we sympathize with. Every devastating event, whether its a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, should have equal sympathy regardless of the region in which it occurred. We are all humans and every life deserves the same amount of respect.
I want to offer my most heartfelt prayers to the victims and their families. As for those still in the hospital, I pray that they’ll come out safe. For everyone involved, I hope that they’ll get the appropriate help that they need to get through this trying time as smoothly as possible.
I won’t soon forget what happened today. I hope that through such a devastating event we as people can come out stronger. I hope that the LGBTQ community can band together and show people that they are truly about love not hate. They’ve taken a great loss today but I have faith that they will overcome this hardship.
Until next time,