In January 2013, after the Sandy Hook massacre, I was moved to write this post. Last night I attended the Orlando memorial and vigil, combined with the movie Pride, which my art house theater showed for free. I held one of the candles early on in the evening, before the movie, to honor the dead.
While I was watching Pride, some things boiled back up to the surface, not the least of which was my time at New Paltz as part of the theatre community. The scenes where the wives of the miners go to the London scene could have been right out of my own experience.
I tried briefly to call up all the names and faces of the people I met then, to remember my high school friend Eric, the first guy I knew was out and proud, and all the people I’ve met in between. I can’t count them all.
Before I got through the movie, I knew already how it would end, at least in part. And I wept, not just for those killed or injured at Pulse, but for every one of the people I’ve met or been friends with in my life.
Even without my theatre experience, I knew I was always an ally. The community that the shooter violated is in part my community. If this had happened 1984 or 1985, in the bars where my friends and I went to dance, it could have been me.
Empathy. That’s what this is.
Any 2A argument that this could have been solved with a good guy with a gun fails to understand the nature of these safe havens. Guns aren’t necessary when you’re home. And if you think they are, I feel sorry for you, because you have no safe place.
That is why I weep for my country, for my brothers and sisters, wherever they fall on the spectrum. AIDS wasn’t a punishment or divine retribution. Neither was the attack last weekend. If you think otherwise, I feel sorry for you because you have lost the ability to empathize.
May you come to your own peace. I am still working on mine.
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