The Theft of Tragedy.

WARNING: I am going to be talking about the horrible tragedy that occurred early Sunday morning at a nightclub in Florida.

I seldom write about my opinions. I seldom share them online. I try to keep them separate and quiet. I’ll speak my mind in person, when there is a conversation to be had. Politics, religion, and the like can be a volatile topic on the best of days. This is not the best of days. This is one of the greatest tragedies that has occurred in the United States. The largest mass shooting in history, so I’ve come to understand.

But you already know this. So why, after I make every effort to avoid writing publicly about topics like this, have I broken my silence? Because this needs to be said. Maybe I’m out of line. This likely isn’t my place. But I am a writer. I feel I have a responsibility to reflect on society and voice my interpretation. To give a voice to those who can’t speak. To write what needs to be written. Usually, I tackle this through poem and metaphor. I still might. But this is too important to be said any other way than bluntly.

I am sick of how our nation reacts to tragedies like this. I am sick of how our media spins tales for the sake of views, and how our politicians use tragedy to push agendas. I am sick of how a tragedy like the one in Florida is used to further drive a wedge between us. To divide our already divided country. In times like this we need to be united. We need to place aside our political and religious differences. We need to set aside our own opinions and beliefs. We need to stand by the victims and their families.

Why the hell should it matter if the shooter was black, white, Muslim, Christian, or anything else? Is it not enough to be the perpetrator of a heinous act of fear and hate against other human beings? Why the hell should it matter who the victims are? All loss of life is a tragedy. All loss of life. So why can’t we stop it? Why are we so concerned that the shooter is a Republican or a Democrat? Why are we so concerned with the color of the shooter’s skin? Their personal beliefs and convictions? Why do we allow politicians to steal a tragedy to push an agenda?

I don’t claim to have the answers. And I’m not sure anyone really does. We need to think beyond these labels. We need to think beyond excuses. He killed 50 people because he was a homophobe. As if that makes it justified. But we have to understand. We have to be able to justify why a person would be able to do what he did. There has to be a reason. But in trying to find a reason we lose sight of what is the most important. The victims. We get caught up in his potential affiliations with terrorist groups or political groups.

We need to stand by the victims. We need to put aside our differences and look at the real problem. Why, in a society and culture as advanced as ours, are people still able to so easily kill and injure hundreds of people? There are no politics here. No outside motives. Are we humans? Or are we monsters?

Featured Image by Marcin Moga under Creative Commons.

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