I woke up Sunday morning to hear that 50 people were killed and 53 people were injured at the hands of someone with an assault rifle and a handgun late Saturday night in an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub called Pulse.
Gun violence has become an all too common occurrence in the daily American landscape.
Since the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, there has been 1,001 mass shootings in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Since December 2012, 1,141 people have been killed and 3,943 people have been wounded in mass shootings in the United States.
And we now know that the Pulse Nightclub shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
I just don’t know what to say.
I have no words, really. Nothing at all.
No thoughts on how to prevent this senseless tragedy from happening again.
I have no political soapbox to stand on and preach about guns, terrorism, or immigration.
No use for finger pointing toward any faction or sleeper cell or terrorist group.
I have nothing really overly profound or philosophical to say about staying strong or forgiveness.
I just don’t know what to say.
But other people will.
There will be people who will say that because this is a gay nightclub that somehow the patrons of the nightclub deserved it and this was divine providence. There will be others who will say that guns are clearly the issue in the United States. There will be others who will say “Don’t take away my 2nd Amendment rights.” There will be others who will say that “Yes, I agree with Donald Trump and we should build this goddamn wall in order for us to keep all of the evil Brown people out.” And yet there will others who will say that everyone will a mental illness is capable of such a cowardly act of violence.
We have seen these narratives play out in our conversations after mass shootings throughout the years. These narratives have been played over and over and over and over again in our speech and thoughts. And after we spend days and days debating these tired narratives, we retreat in our comfortable pattern of finger-pointing, name calling, and spinelessly hateful rhetoric.
Nothing gets accomplished and we all look like fools.
We can armchair-quarterback this shit until we are blue in the face.
We could go back-and-forth in these pointless debates and argue whether the root cause of this comes from nature v. nurture, gun control, the psychological effect of violent videogames/TV or movies or rock music, domestic terrorism at the hands of ISIL/ISIS, or the failing of the broken mental healthcare system in the United States.
And this is not going to make a fucking difference what we continue to pontificate as to the root cause of this tragedy.
But right now…I really don’t give a damn about all of that.
It doesn’t matter.
None of these stupid debates and empty words matter anymore.
50 people are dead.
Another 53 are wounded.
Families are not going to be able to spend time with their loved ones anymore.
Friends will not have their friends around to go out to clubs anymore.
So as you run your narratives in the next few days.
Just remember that 53 people were wounded.
The wounded will always live with the visual and auditory horrors of the violence.
They will always hear the gunshots; they will always see the chaos.
They never be the same people again.
And as you debate back-and-forth about guns and terrorism and God.
While you try to armchair quarterback just what the fuck happened.
Just remember that 50 people are dead.
They are never coming back.
Credits to “After Sandy Hook we said never again. And then we let 1,001 mass shootings happen.” by German Lopez and Soo Oh on VOX and the Gun Violence Archive for information in this piece.