Yesterday was a tragic day for myself, for the families and the victims affected by the tragedy at Pulse, the LGBTQ community, and the state of American society as a whole. But in this post, I will choose to ignore the public discourse and conversations occurring today as a result of the tragedy that happened yesterday and focus on my own reflections.
Today is another day and, yet, I’m still tearing up in the same way that I did after first finding out that the death toll reached fifty. Today, we find out that the casualty count is now 49, but that is still 49 families immediately affected, but count the friends, first-responders, the communities, and societies whose lives have been changed by this sheer act of terror and it’s easy to realize that this sinking feeling I have is one that’s shared by others. This sinking feeling will not disappear within a day, a week, or a month, or even years. This is an event that will be remembered in American history and, is, in fact a historical event in our society and I personally hope this is a wake-up call. Yesterday, I wrote about homophobia and Islamaphobia but today, we have much more to fear than just the hate. We now live in a society where we are desensitized to violence.
While yesterday, a mass shooting taking 49 lives and injuring 53 more occurred, many more were taken and a good portion of those because of hatred. But it is safe to say that the American fascination with weapons has turned our society into a battlefield. Whenever I see kids out on the streets of my own suburban neighborhood, I can’t help but think about the dangers they face, or the dangers my nephews face when they do anything. It is sad to know that our parents would have easily enjoyed their childhood but today, a terrorist would have been able to bomb Disney World had he not been stopped by the wonderful first-responders who acted swiftly and went into immediate action. The state of our society is one in danger in so many ways and I hope that what just happened is a wake-up call because if I ever have kids, this is the society that they will inhabit which would be unfortunate if it remains in a state of imminent danger.
But at the same time, the outpouring of support by my fellow Americans towards the LGBTQ community has been wonderful. While some remain ignorant, many have showed their solidarity with us as we face, yet, another senseless attack by a homophobic individual who was self-radicalized with hate. However, I refuse to take part into further suppositions and investigation without the facts because as a gay, Autistic, and Pinoy individual with anxiety, depression and OCD, I abhor the many of the ableist comments on the mental state, or the Islamaphobic comments on the supposed faith of the shooter. But what we really need to do is remain in solidarity and unite in love. No, the bullets were not stopped and, no, the violence did not end with love and solidarity but in order to heal as a society from such a brutal attack, we need to remember that it is our responsibility to each other to coalesce as one united American people and as one united LGBTQ community.
To use such a tragedy to push a political agenda, to promote hatred, or to derive division in any way is just as much a perversion of Islam, American values, and humanity and just as senseless as this massacre was. May the victims of this brutal attack and the victims of other senseless acts of violence rest in peace and power.