Orlando – Scene of Mass Killings, June 12, 2016
Mary E. Latela
This morning a terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, took the lives of 50 souls and injured more than 50 others as a man decided to vent his rage/confusion/arrogance by entering a gay bar and shooting as many as he could, armed with a hand gun and an assault rifle.
As the hours of this day of sadness pass and the reality sets in, let us make no mistake about this tragedy. Malice, hatred, homicidal rage are crimes against humanity. This is not a prank, or a sad response to an opportunity -it was a deliberate attack on a large gathering of people at a bar, on a Saturday night. It is terrible malice against unarmed, innocent victims.
Let this moment not become once again a political ping pong game, with people as the tossed and tortured victims. In the shadows, we know that there are people, groups of people, and single individuals who aim to reverse the wonderful trend toward equality, marital equality, workplace equality, ending discrimination, and ending the epidemic of bullying toward children and adults.
One man committed this crime today. We don’t know yet “if he acted alone.”: We do sense that he did something hideous, which will be ignored by some who really do not care about equality. This is not a simple song and dance. This is an assault on anyone who speaks his story, who sings his own song who dares to be herself/ himself in a land still rife with anger and resentment.
What will it take? We’ve been asking the question too frequently – when children were murdered in a school in Connecticut, when citizens were gunned down in San Diego, when malls, movie theater, schools, and even places of worship are settings for mass violence. What will it take for people to DO something to change this attitude of hatred? Every religion says, “You shall not kill.” Every society says, “You will not kill, harm, or torture another. Every town has a commitment to “keep the peace.” And every political movement which counts tells us that crimes against others – just because they are difference – ARE NOT PERMITTED!
I begin by asking, What can I do? I can pray. I can speak up. I can write. I can repeat over and over, that Peace is possible, unless we keep silent and allow days like this to pass without publicizing our regret, without a commitment toward reconciliation, and a change of heart.